Calderdale Council agree to sell land for just £1 to housing developer

A new housing development is planned for Ovenden
A new housing development is planned for Ovenden

More than 160 new homes could be built in North Halifax after Calderdale Council’s Cabinet approved plans for the release of land – and sell it off to the scheme developers for just £1.

An initial design includes 78 extra care apartments and 91 affordable homes and it will be developed by the Home Group. Ltd, one of the UK’s biggest housing associations.

Cabinet discussed the agenda item in private at its meeting last week and decision has now been published.

The homes will form part of the North Halifax Transformation Programme but is subject to the current viability gap of £1.4m being addressed and the land being appropriated and disposed of to the Home Group Ltd for £1 to develop the scheme, subject to Secretary of State consent being given by Government.

Cabinet also agreed to the use of up to £500,000 of capital funding retained in the council’s overall budget, to contribute towards delivery of the extra care scheme.

Extra care housing can provide an alternative to residential care and support people so that they can remain independent and living within their own community.

Meanwhile the affordable homes will fill a much-needed gap in Calderdale’s housing stock, say councillors.

Calderdale Council’s Cabinet member for Adults, Health and Social Care, Coun Bob Metcalfe (Lab, Town) said he was delighted the scheme was moving forward.

“Demand for extra care housing is increasing and I’m delighted that the Council is supporting the development of this scheme.

“It’s so important for people to stay within the community in which they have spent their life, so that they can remain close to their friends and family.

“Extra care makes sure that people can be supported within their own home, enjoying a good quality of life in the place that they know,” he said.

A flexible support package of care is provided with the housing and this can be increased if the person’s health deteriorates, says the council.

It is also intended that this extra care scheme will also be available for younger adults who meet the care and support criteria and need some additional support to remain independent – they are often restricted to people above 55 or 60 years of age.

The scheme would also include bungalows to provide accessible accommodation for people with additional physical needs, who are able to live independently or within a community, with some support.

Approval meant the scheme would allow Calderdale Council to transform vacant land – described as a “brownfield” site offering poor quality use for local people and which has been subject to fly-tipping and other anti-social behaviour – into much needed homes for local people, said Calderdale Council’s Cabinet member for Planning, Housing and Environment, Coun Daniel Sutherland (Lab, Illingworth and Mixenden).

“The development will form part of the North Halifax Transformation programme which sets out our strategic vision for the place, including delivering new housing; kick-starting investment and regenerating the area,” he said.

Home Group Limited has extensive experience in the delivery of extra care housing, and is currently developing a £12m 65 bed extra care scheme in Bramston Street, Rastrick, for people with dementia, says the council.

Community engagement events will be organised during spring to share proposed plans with local residents before a planning application is submitted over summer.

The council will now ask the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to consent to the disposal of the land so that the scheme can begin development.

At Cabinet, Coun Anne Collins (Lab, Ovenden) said the development would allow elderly people to move into this project and would release more family homes for the younger generation.

It was important to handle this site carefully during construction as there was housing on all sides, she said.

Coun Geraldine Carter (Con, Ryburn) welcomed the proposals but said the indicative plan did not include any outside space and she asked it this could be included in the plan.

Coun Sutherland said he had taken note of the comments and would include them in the process.