Lynda Haigh is a ‘proud Daltoner’ but thinks the area that’s been home for over 50 years hasn’t quite recovered from the coronavirus lockdowns which she says have negatively affected how people treat each other.
Lynda says people in Dalton – a district of Huddersfield one mile east of the town centre – were once far friendlier than they are now, and she blames the long-term impact of the pandemic and the habits people picked up during the lockdowns.
Some people have become overly worried about germs and are not keen on people visiting them, she says.
“Before Covid, people were very friendly and would talk to neighbours. Now people will talk but they don’t say ‘come in my house’ as if to say ‘what (infections) have you got’. I think it’s horrible.”
Lynda still sees people wearing masks and cannot understand why. “Covid has wrecked every day life,” she adds. “Friendliness has all gone – it’s a shame.”
The 72-year-old has lived in the Long Lane area of Dalton, Huddersfield, for 53 years and thinks of herself as ‘lucky’ to have spent her time in a “nice area with nice people.”
However, it hasn’t always been plain sailing, as masked thieves stole the family Ford Transit last year at the second attempt. CCTV cameras and other security measures didn’t seen to bother them. She watched in horror as they carried out their crime.
“I watched and it was sickening. The police never caught them,” she adds.
Carl Burgess, 89, has also lived in Dalton for half a century, having previously lived in Rawthorpe and Hillhouse, Huddersfield. The former Royal Air Force technician was wearing a Spitfire pin badge and a second one depicting the Avro Vulcan bomber when YorkshireLive caught up with him.
Back in the 1950s he worked on American F-86 Sabre fighter jets used by the American air force during the Korean War. He later left the air force and worked in various jobs in Huddersfield including in textiles.
He likes Dalton but isn’t too keen on the amount of traffic. Long Lane is often very busy, with traffic using it as a route to get to and from the M62 junction.
“Generally, the people around here are very good,” he says. “But one thing nowadays is there’s too much traffic; it’s terrible. Some people have two or three cars.”
Dalton, he says, isn’t quite as friendly as it once was. He adds: “It’s a nice place but some people don’t want to know or talk to you. They are isolated.”
Carl reckons that this side of Huddersfield – Moldgreen, Dalton, Kirkheaton – is the “best side of Huddersfield”.
“I think it’s more pleasant, and it is not too far to go into the countryside,” he says.
Zafar, 58, has lived in Dalton for two years and is originally from Afghanistan. He used to live in Birkby and joked that Dalton has more going for it.
“Dalton is far better than Birkby for cleanliness. There is litter in Birkby – people just drop it, they don’t keep it tidy.”
He added: “Here there are facilities like shops and playgrounds. It’s a good community. You can go to Wakefield Road where there are plenty of shops.”
Abid, a shopkeeper in Long Lane, said he had almost no problems in 20 years running the shop.
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“People are very nice and friendly. I am very happy and everybody talks to me. Only two people have caused trouble in 20 years.”
Two Dalton residents asked to be anonymous when asked to comment. A woman in her 50s said Dalton had previously had something of a reputation for crime, but she said it had ‘quietened down’ recently.
“I think all the bad ones have been locked up,” she said.
A man in his 30s said Dalton had received a lot of ‘bad Press’ which wasn’t always fair.
“There’s a lot of good people around here. A lot of people who will bend over backwards to help others. We don’t like to see people struggling.”
And he said there were concerns about young people riding around on motorbikes. He claimed they weren’t a problem and that they “respect their elders”.
He said Dalton is a good place to live but it was important to mind your own business. He adds: “Around here, what you see is what you get.
“Keep yourself to yourself. Before, if I saw two people fighting I would step in and stop them. Now I wouldn’t, as you don’t know if they have a knife. You are better to keep yourself to yourself, out of other people’s business.”