Calderdale 'one of the top places to live in the north'

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Calderdale is knocking on the door of the top 20 places to live in the north, according to a new report.

The first Northern Powerhouse Liveability Index has been commissioned by Your Housing Group, which provides properties for sale, rent or via social housing, and it makes

reccommendations as to how people’s need for a home across the north of England can best be met.

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Considering issues including the availability of homes to buy, their affordability, the opportunity to earn attractive wages and desirability where schools attain good attainment scores, the survey ranks each local authority area in the north, from Cheshire to the border with Scotland for “liveability”.

The survey’s aim is to urge developers to build homes where they are most needed.

Generally areas with good quality of life but poor affordability of homes need increased new housing supply while areas with poor quality of life may need new homes alongside other interventions such as regeneration and job creation, says the report’s author, former Government economist Chris Walker.

As of 2018 that indicates Calderdale’s balance is about right but poses questions as to how much housing it would need in the future: “Areas with good affordability per se don’t need increased new housing supply, especially where their quality of life credentials are poor,” he says.

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A hot topic in Calderdale at the moment is the finalising of its Local Plan, which will indicate where 12,600 new homes Government believes the area will require by 2032 might be built.

For “liveability” Calderdale ranks highly, 21st out of the 72 local authority areas, a list which is headed by South Lakeland with neighbouring Bradford bottom of the survey.

With a baseline score of 400, Calderdale rates 414 points overall, above average, with its affordability score of 110 on a baseline of 100 indicating it has got more affordable housing than other areas.

These range from key cities like Leeds, Manchester and York to the more rural Ribble Valley and Northumberland.

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Calderdale’s attributes rate a score of 304, using a survey baseline of 300, indicating slightly above average availability of homes, jobs and good school places.

In short, Calderdale is classed as “very liveable”, in neighbouring area terms alongside Harrogate, the East Riding, Ryedale, Scarborough and Darlington, ahead of Richmondshire, Hambleton, Hartlepool, Redcar and Cleveland, York, Leeds, Selby, Wakefield, Barnsley, Rotherham, North Lincolnshire, North East Lincolnshire and Hull, which are all rated as “liveable”.

Only Craven is rated more highly, as “most liveable” with Stockton, Middlesboro, Kirklees, Sheffield and Doncaster all rated as “less liveable” and Bradford as “least liveable”.

York, for example, despite offering slightly above earnings and employment, is the most expensive place for people on average incomes to live, whereas Bradford has higher unemployment than the national average and higher rates of deprivation.

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Northern Powerhouse partnership director Henri Murison said: “Critical to the success of the Northern Powerhouse is creating vibrant, diverse communities capable of driving the North’s ambitions, attracting the skilled jobs of the future, stimulating economic growth and ultimately helping rebalance the UK and narrow the north-south divide.”

Group chief executive of Your Housing Group, Brian Cronin, said: “It isn’t a simple case of shoehorning a bit more affordable development into the more expensive places to live, we need to understand where it is difficult to access affordable housing and consider what opportunities the housing needs to provide to, such as a healthy jobs marker, wages that meet the local cost of living and decent state schools.

“In other words, where is it that families on average incomes are most likely to struggle to simply ‘get on’?” he said.