Improvements needed in tackling crime, housing and roads in Calderdale new report reveals

Crime, roads and housing were highlighted as areas where Calderdale Council needs to do more, while it rated highly in other areas when compared to other authorities.

Thursday, 9th December 2021, 6:45 am
Crime, roads and housing were highlighted as areas where Calderdale Council needs to do more

Calderdale Council’s Cabinet member for Resources, Coun Silvia Dacre (Lab, Todmorden) said the report was against a background of the council placing greater importance on recovery from COVID and widening the number of authorities against which it measured progress – now measured as Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) “nearest neighbours, which in effect covers the whole of England.

There were now 19 key performance indicators and taken overall it was a very positive picture, she told December’s Cabinet meeting.

That said there were some challenges, for example principal road maintenance, crime and housebuilding.

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But on highways that meant four per cent of Calderdale’s classified road network needing repair which was well within the bounds of acceptability and it was hoped a West Yorkshire Combined Authority bid for more funding would bear fruit with reduced grant this year, said Coun Dacre.

Crime levels were below those Calderdale had in 2019 but as across the region had risen – 17.2 per cent above 2020 levels following the lifting of many coronavirus restrictions.

While there had been a reported increase of violent crime this was related to the opening up of the night time economy again and was not higher than anticipated, she said.

Initiatives had been introduced including using Safer Women At Night funding to make improvements in safety for women and girls at those times, said Coun Dacre.

On housing the Local Plan would increase the quality of housing in the borough, she said.

There were areas where the council is doing very well in, and Coun Adam Wilkinson (Lab, Sowerby Bridge), Cabinet member for Children and Young People’s Services, highlighted the number of young children at foundation stage achieving good outcomes and also “huge” improvements in the council’s performance where placements for children in its care were concerned.

Cabinet member for Coun Scott Patient (Lab, Luddenden Foot) said the council and housing partners had worked well in the recent storm and relationships were starting to produce results, for example at Beech Hill in Halifax.

Planning services had been under strain in the pandemic but the Local Plan would make sure the department was fit for purpose, he said.

Coun Jenny Lynn (Lab, Park) said mobile cameras had made a difference to safety, including most recently at Armytage Road at Brighouse.

Coun Ashley Evans (Lib Dem, Warley) said there were some items in the original report which were not updated here and some of the statistics seemed rather old.

Also areas which were still a concern, for example male life expectancy, action should still be taken, he said.

Cabinet member for Regeneration and Strategy, Coun Jane Scullion (Lab, Luddenden Foot) said data came from a number of sources including some national statistics, but the information did not all appear at the same time.

And Coun Dacre said that as with individual items highlighted in the report, indicating progress, work which needed doing and next steps, the process was followed in all the other items.

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