Search is on for land for 10,000 new homes

THE search is on for land on which to build 10,000 new homes – a town the size of Sowerby Bridge.

Exactly where these properties should go and whether green fields should be concreted over, will be put to public meetings beginning on November 17.

The answers will be used to help compile a new land use bible – the Local Development Framework – which, by the time it is finally approved in 2011 will determine exactly what is built where for the next 20 years.

Four options for house building will be put to the consultation meetings and if people do not get involved now, it could be too late to influence the core strategies of the framework which will soon be set in stone.

Calderdale's share of the national house building target has recently gone up from 670 a year to 800 because it is now officially classed a "growth area".

That new status will bring with it additional Government money to help pay for infrastructure improvements such as roads, rail and bus services, schools, health services and the like.

But it has still to be decided where the houses should go.

People will be asked whether Calderdale should continue to develop in the way it has in recent years with a fairly universal spread of new building, whether it should be concentrated in Halifax or Brighouse, or a combination of the two.

Other key questions at the public meeting will be:

Should as much development as possible be in existing urban areas, even if it leads to town cramming?

Are there other settlements which should grow significantly?

Is there open space, such as Skircoat Moor, which could be released for development?

Are there sites suitable for use by gipsies and travellers?

Is there enough open space in Calderdale?

Are there any other towns which should become principal towns?

Should Calderdale aim to provide enough jobs for everyone of working age?

Should Halifax and Brighouse contain the majority of new employment and leisure facilities?

Should the protection and enhancement of the natural environment be a priority?

The meetings will be held at Halifax Central Library, from 1.30pm and 7pm, on Monday, November 17; at Wainwright Hall, Elland, from 1.30pm-7.30pm, on Tuesday, November 18; at Hope Baptist Church, Hebden Bridge, from 1.30pm-7.30pm, on Thursday, November 20; at St Paul's Methodist Church, Sowerby Bridge, from 1.30pm-7.30pm, on Friday, November 21 and at Brighouse Library, from 1.30pm-6.30pm on Monday, November 24.