THE BRONTË Parsonage Museum’s recovery after coronavirus could be badly affected by the closure of the main road between Oxenhope and Hebden Bridge, warn bosses.

The Brontë Society fears the 20-week improvement programme on the A6033 Hebden Bridge Road will hinder its plans to attract visitors from the Calder Valley and across the North West.

The society points out many museum visitors reach Hebden Bridge by train then continue to Haworth on the bus, which will not run across the moors while the road is closed.

The society spoke this week as a parish council chairman raised concerns that the closure would stop people crossing the moors to reach work – including residents on the Hebden Bridge side who run businesses in Haworth and Keighley.

Calderdale Council is due to close the road on July 6 between Hebden Bridge and Oxenhope to carry out important safety work including resurfacing, widening bends and replacing kerbs.

The council says the road will be closed on weekdays for the first six weeks, remaining open at weekends, then a review will be carried out in the hope the road can remain open for the next few weeks under traffic light control.

The Brontë Parsonage Museum has been closed since the beginning of lockdown, in a year when it hoped to attract many visitors interested in the 200th anniversary of the birth of Anne Brontë.

A spokesman said: “We fully understand that improvements need to be made to the A6033, but we are concerned that the timing of them, and the length of time that the road will be fully closed,  will have an adverse effect on visitor numbers during the late summer and early autumn. 

“We expect the recovery from the effects of lockdown to be slow, and the disruption caused by this work will further hamper our plans to attract visitors from the upper Calder Valley and beyond, including those who arrive in Hebden Bridge by train and then continue their journey to Haworth by bus.”

Jon Kimber is chairman of Wadsworth Parish Council, which lies on the Hebden Bridge side of Cock Hill and represents hamlets on either side of the road running down into the town including Pecket Well and Midgehole.

Mr Kimber said: “A number of people either work or have businesses in Haworth or Keighley but live in our parish.

“Quite a few residents of Pecket Well choose to use Oxenhope Co-op for shopping. Although it is further than Hebden Bridge it is an easier journey and there are no car parking issues in Oxenhope.

“Our parish council was told last year that the proposed works would be undertaken using traffic light control with long delays - not total closure.”