Concerns grow over pressure on Calderdale school places as housing blueprint talks continue

Concerns over pressure on school places were voiced in the third phase of hearings into Calderdale Council’s draft Local Plan.

Thursday, 24th June 2021, 11:45 am

After a lengthy session on the need for new schools at the proposed Garden Suburbs near Brighouse, other areas of Calderdale were examined by Planning Inspector Katie Child, who ran the virtual hearings.

Coun Steven Leigh (Con, Ryburn) said he was worried that at the start of the process the whole plan was predicated on 30,000 people coming into Calderdale and using housing stats that could mean more than 7,000 extra children needing places, and these did not seem to be sufficient in number.

The council’s senior commissioning officer Richard Morse said the children would be spread out over seven primary and five secondary year groups. “Once spread out is is likely to be lower compared to the number of houses,” he said.

Pressure on schools were discussed at Calderdale Local Plan meetings

Brian Crossley of Shelf and Northowram Local Plan Forum, said Northowram Primary School was already oversubscribed and the next nearest was a three mile walk away. Salterlee School was also oversubscribed.

He queried some of the statistics used as they left the situation unclear.

Julie Bullen of Woodhouse Residents Association also said they were not consistent.

In North Halifax, Mr Morse said a site feasibility study was under way with a partner and there was also land in local authority ownership that would lend itself to a solution.

At Elland and Greetland, Mr Morse said Old Earth Primary School in Elland was looking to expand which would provide some extra places, the hearings heard.

Paul Butler of Barratt Homes reminded the hearing they had offered to provide land if needed.

But Lynsey Ashton of Greetland Pressure Group was surprised and shocked the council was proposing some land be removed from the green belt in the process.