How much more can Sowerby Bridge take?

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Back Wakefield Road

Sowerby Bridge

Referring to the Copley Valley, John Greenwood claims: “The valley is not a green paradise. It is an extensive area of derelict and contaminated land, which needs millions to restore. Where will this money come from?”

(Green Paradise? It’s contaminated land (Your say, April 7).

Oh for sure, the Sterne Mill part of the site is derelict and contaminated, but this is only a small part of the whole project. Much of the rest of the site is previously undeveloped floodplain land that used to enjoy the overall protection of greenbelt status. Until, that is, the council’s planning department successfully lobbied government planning inspectors for its deletion from the greenbelt back in 2004. 

If Mr Greenwood wants to know what this project is really about, then I suggest he visit the action group’s website at www.copleyvalley.co.uk. The misinformation and spin disseminated about this project over the years, by councillors, senior planning officers, and others has been unbelievable, so maybe John would be better off believing the spin. It’s easier that way.

Planning officers have implied that the access road will somehow relieve the acute congestion in Sowerby Bridge. Forget it . This project will do nothing for Sowerby Bridge’s traffic and pollution problems, apart from add to them. Don’t believe me? Well here’s an excerpt from the Planning Department’s UDP representation for the Replacement Calderdale Unitary Development Plan Public Local Inquiry in 2005:

“The development would result in some increase in traffic on the local highway network. However, in capacity terms, adverse impact would be reduced with the identified package of highway improvement works.”

So, to be fair to the planning department, they do admit the project will add to traffic problems in the area.

However, they then went on to say:

“The increase in traffic would be over a period of time and at such levels that residents are unlikely to perceive significant changes over the development period.”

As a justification for yet more congestion and pollution in the Sowerby Bridge area, that’s pretty feeble. How much more traffic can Sowerby Bridge take?  

As for the money, well, that’s what this project is all about, of course.

From the council’s point of view, the Government will pay them over £2,000 pounds per housing unit built, over 200 of them on this project alone, so there’s around half a million quid right there.

Then they can sell off the publicly owned land in the valley, for “regeneration” purposes as they would put it, so that’s millions more for them to spend on unwanted environmentally destructive schemes, while at the same time telling us we need to cut back spending on essential public services.

nce the green land is gone it is gone for good. I think this is what is known as asset-stripping.

John wants to know where the money is coming from to pay for Diane Wade’s ideas for the land. What he should be worrying about is who’s going to pay for the two new bridges and access road as envisioned by the scheme. Joe Public no doubt.

Andrew Greenroyd