The beautiful green open space opposite the town hall in Cleckheaton was not always so. Once upon a time it was the Savoy Cinema, where generations of Cleckheaton people had been entertained. The cinema closed, deteriorated and was demolished. For 14 years it was a derelict boarded up site - a shameful eyesore right in the middle of town. Owned two thirds by Tesco and one third by the council, neither seemed at all bothered by the appearance of the site. All efforts by the Society to get the owners to do something were ignored.
In 2002 the Society submitted a planning application to create a park and served notice of this intention on the owners. It is known the planning department was amused by the Society's audacity. But when the Society said it would appeal to the Government if its application was not approved they sat up and took notice. The application was then approved. When the council heard how little money the Society would need to create the park (compared with its own estimates) it offered to obtain a licence from Tesco and to fully fund the project.
Work by Society members started in April 2003 with the dismantling of the hated panel fencing around the site, and the clearing of years of rubbish, rubble and weeds. All the work was carried out by Society members, assisted by over a dozen volunteers who stepped forward to help. Blessed by good weather, work continued without a break to create level ground, grass and paths, and the new park was opened only 12 weeks later on June 23rd 2003. A mock cine-reel bearing two plaques links the Square to its origins as the Savoy Cinema. In 2007 a series of paintings and portraits were added to the market hall wall at the back of the Savoy site. These represent historical Spen Valley events, depicted in the style of cinema posters.
Since then the park has been used for a wide variety of social events, fun days and for the town's christmas tree. In June 2013 the Civic Society held a 10th anniversary celebration on Savoy Square and in June 2015 we succeeded in getting it listed as an Asset of Community Value.