The shape of things to come

The public have been invited to give their views on the future shape of Calderdale.

Calderdale Council is asking residents to comment on the Core Strategy for the next 15 to 20 years.

The strategy deals with issues like housing, jobs, transport and climate change.

Two meetings have been held at Hebden Bridge Town Hall and Square Chapel in Halifax to outline the proposals to the public.

They follow the previous week’s consultation in Todmorden which, it was suggested, could become a “principal town” in Calderdale to attract more businesses and services.

Calls were made by residents in Hebden Bridge to improve the transport links, particularly the troublesome A646 which suffers congestion during rush hour.

The ease of access to the railway station and the number of trains running was also highlighted as key to reducing the road traffic.

Resident Chris Lund of Blackshaw said: “I would like to see Todmorden developed as more of a business area which will reduce the volume of traffic going through Hebden Bridge and will create more jobs for the people of Hebden. I’d also like to see better broadband speeds so that more people can work from home .”

Hebden Bridge resident Brian Wells said: “I’d like to see our green belt areas protected in the future. At the moment a PPS or a PPG can over rule the existing legislation that protects these areas and we need to make sure that this isn’t the case in the future.”

At the previous week’s Todmorden meeting, topics discussed included new homes, improved tourism and the BBC.

If the council’s option two - to develop Todmorden - were chosen, 1,900 new homes could be built in the wider Todmorden area.

Todmorden resident Kerry Morrison said: “That seems a very large growth in the housing alone and what about the jobs for this new population? I don’t like the idea of these coming from a top-down directive, and not just allowing the town to organically grow. I find it worrying.”.

Planning officers said the numbers were just a guide.

Other concerns included the effect of building Todmorden into a “principal town”.

David Jones, who lives at Whirlaw Rocks said: “Todmorden isn’t really designed for developing.”

Ideas from the audience included generating tourism from the Rochdale Canal and building up green power sources, including hydro energy. It was also revealed discussions are taking place about linking Todmorden with the development of the new MediaCityUk - which will see many BBC services moved from London to Salford.

Planning officers said they wanted to continue to build on the independent businesses which thrive in the area. Officer Matthew Good said: “This area isn’t really attractive to larger local businesses because they want access to the motorways but it is attractive to creative businesses.”

Residents have until March 25 to make their feelings known to the council. Comments can be emailed to spatial.planning@calderdale.gov.uk or by visiting http://calderdale-consult.limehouse.co.uk/portal.

l WHAT do you think about the suggestions made? Email your thoughts to todnews@todmordennews.co.uk or hbtimes@hebdenbridgetimes.co.uk