Calder Valley MP hits out at Local Plan's revised sites for homes

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Calder Valley MP Craig Whittaker has hit back after a revised list of sites for new homes has been released as part of Calderdale Council's Local Plan.

Following opposition from Calderdale residents and revised Government guidelines, the council has reduced the total number of new houses in the Local Plan from 17,000 to 11,500.

The council has produced a revised list of sites for the Local Plan, which identifies land to meet its requirements for new housing and economic development over the next 15 years.

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Some sites which were earmarked in the original Local Plan have been removed to accommodate the smaller target.

Mr Whittaker thinks many of these sites were unsuitable for development and should not have been included in the draft plan.

He said: “A good example is a former refuse tip in Heptonstall, which is known to contain asbestos – bizarrely this was included as a housing site in the original draft.

“Although I am pleased that some sites which are clearly unsuitable have now been removed, there are still many sites which are in the revised site allocations which are unsuitable for development and which are not supported by the local community.”

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The Calder Valley MP also expressed his disappointment that green belt land is being targeted. The list included a plan for more than 3,000 homes to be built on green belt land in Brighouse.

He said: “I am also disappointed to see that some communities within the Calder Valley continue to receive a vastly disproportionate level of development through this plan. In some cases, the proportion of development in some areas has now increased following the revised allocations.

“The vast majority of the sites which have been included in the draft plan continue to be on green belt land and are located in the Calder Valley which is also extremely disappointing.

“We all accept the need for development and new housing in the Calder Valley but the sites which come forward for development have to be appropriate and need to be supported by additional infrastructure provision.

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“I have not seen any evidence in the revisions to the sites that has convinced me that the final draft of the plan will be fit for purpose. Councillors will be voting on the final Local Development Plan in June 2018 (weeks after the next set of local elections) when all of the accompanying evidence to support the plan will finally be released.

“I would be delighted to support any local residents in challenging some of the sites which are included within the site allocations if you do not feel these are fit for purpose. The council’s Local Plan Working Party has been reconvened to consider the latest allocation of sites and I will forward on any concerns, questions or comments that you may have onto the working party and the planning officers to consider.”

In 2019 the council will submit the Local Planto the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG).

Calderdale’s Local Plan will then be examined in detail by the Secretary of State. The examination could last around nine months. Adoption of the plan by Calderdale Council, following receipt of the Inspector’s Report, is expected to be confirmed by the end of 2019.

For a revised list of sites, visit Calderdale Council’s website.