When attending a planning committee meeting as an objector to the application submitted to build 30 houses within Green Belt at St Giles Road between Lightcliffe and Hove Edge, I was surprised how little attention was paid to the existing Green Belt cover as upheld by the Unitary Development Plan inspector.
The councillors on the Planning Committee who visited the site all commented, as did Cllr Graham Hall, on the scruffiness of the area and the need to allow this development to go ahead.
The questions I and other local people puzzle over is, why if this area is so bad hasn’t Calderdale Council asked for it to be cleaned up, why is the bus garage not screened with trees as is the other two areas within this planning application.
Other areas of Hipperholme and Lightcliffe have been allowed to become derelict in the past with councillors taking the easy option of allowing housing to be built. No clean up notices and no enforcement!
Curious that when Crosslee applied and got their planning for 167 houses, just across the road from this site, both Cllr Graham Hall and Cllr David Kirton could not speak against the application as they lived too close to the development, however both Cllr Graham Hall and Cllr David Kirton both supported the 30 houses application in the local newspapers and Cllr Graham Hall actually spoke in support at the planning meeting?
At the last Unitary Development Plan revision, a number of applications were made to remove land from Green Belt within Hipperholme and Lightcliffe.
Hundreds and hundreds of local residents fought without the help of our local Conservative Councillors to try and maintain areas of Green Belt within our area.
We won our battle,with the aid of a small dedicated team and the support of local residents.
Cllr Hall said at the Planning Committee that he fully supported the application by Leeds City Region for the building of 1,000 houses in the Hipperholme and Lightcliffe area and these 30 houses would go towards this figure, (the last figure I saw from Leeds City Region was 2,000 house to be built in Hipperholme and Lightcliffe)
So what of our battles to save the Green Belt? Not looking good! Every member of the Planning Committee, Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat voted in support with no virtually no comment regarding our Green Belt. With the support of Cllrs Hall and Kirton and the changes in planning legislation, our Green Belt could be a fading memory!
Could Hipperholme and Lightcliffe be facing a ‘silent spring’ in the future due to the failure of our councillors?