There has been ongoing public consultation with the public for some time by Calderdale Council over the Local Plan.
More recently the council has set a deadline of September 29, 2017 for the consultation period to end.
Our Conservative MP in the Upper Valley, Craig Whittaker, has organised open public meetings which have attracted a lot of interest and discussion has helped people air their views.
Certain concerns kept coming up and these have now been addressed by head of planning, Richard Seaman, in a letter to council members.
1. Thousands of houses are being built to increase the population.
The Local Plan is to meet the needs of our current population growth, not to increase the population. Based on estimates of demographic change, the needs of older people in particular will have to be met.
2. Lack of infrastructure.
The council has capital investment programmes, £100m for transport, and £80m for flood defence and resilience. Not all infrastructure is planned by the council, the West Yorks Authority, CCG, and utility companies co-ordinate plans to meet their needs. CIL, the new infrastructure levy that replaces 106 monies, which developers contribute to local infrastructure, will be adopted at the same time as the Local Plan.
3. Not enough school places.
The council has a ’Planning for Schools Places’ process, a document that runs alongside this plan. Provision is based on birth rate and migration. The Department of Education allocates money on predictions of school populations. It projects primary school places for the next three-four years, and secondary for the next 10 years. The schools part of the plan will reflect where growth is expected, ie in Brighouse where two new primary, and one secondary school are planned for that area.
4. Housing on small sites important ie below 0.25 hectares.
The usual site size for consideration in these Local Plans is 0.4 hectares which is an acre. The council has listed small sites in the schedule available in libraries, and anticipates 1,400 new homes will come from extra or small sites.
5. Brown field should be used before green field.
Over the last 25 years 80 per cent of new homes have been built on brown field, which is why there is now a short supply. Some brown field sites are unsuitable. Urban areas grow into the green belt over time in some places. ‘Exceptional circumstances’ are required to justify allocation in the green belt.
If you have any more questions or concerns, planning officers are available at Customer First in Halifax on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 9am-1pm.
For advice, telephone 01422 392206 or 392381.
Further drop-ins are being planned by the council on September 18 at Halifax Town Hall, September 19 in Brighouse Library and September 20 in Hebden Bridge Town Hall, all 5-8pm.
On September 18 there will be help to navigate the website to make comments on the Local Plan.