Sahara eyesore? Council is the worst of offenders

I was intrigued to read of the council planning department’s objections to the exterior improvements made to the Sahara restaurant in Bull Green. Ironically this simply serves to emphasise the appalling dual standards which appear to operate within the Council’s planning department.

The biggest offender of this kind in Calderdale is CMBC itself. The public-toilet style exterior of King Cross library alone should make everyone involved hang their heads in shame.

I can hardly bear to mention the absurdly inappropriate design of Sowerby Bridge’s new modernistic wooden-hut style swimming baths. Broad Street - Uggh!

And as for plans to smash a hole through the east wall of the Piece Hall and turn it into a continental piazza, you couldn’t make it up.

Meanwhile I’ve been past the Sahara, the old Crown and Anchor as was, umpteen times and frankly I had never even noticed the modifications. I only wish I could say the same for Broad Street.

On the face of it the system seems to be that colleagues working within Calderdale Council can put forward any sort of plan they like and Planning Officers will simply back them to the hilt. But for everyone else the rules are fully applied.

This all-too-visible application of dual standards is bad for everyone, bad for democracy, bad for CMBC and its officers, and above all it is bad for the whole community which the Council is supposed to serve and represent.

One fundamental cause of this sorry state of affairs appears to be that both ‘planning’ and ‘development’ are located in the same directorate at CMBC.

That organisational proximity no doubt only encourages an unhealthy and incestuous relationship. Best to split up the whole directorate, and then relocate their offices, and officers, a very long way from one another.

When confidence in CMBC is at an all time low surely this is the least that can be done.

Stephen Ainsworth

Pye Nest