Halifax community group loses bid to save 'last green' site as with new housing development planned

The last “green” site in an area of Calderdale will be used to build new homes rather than being asset transferred to a community group.

Wednesday, 6th October 2021, 11:32 am
Updated Wednesday, 6th October 2021, 1:25 pm
Land at Horley Green Road at Claremount, Halifax. (Google Street View)

Calderdale Council Cabinet members were impressed by the case put forward by Friends of Horley Green but decided the pressing need for new affordable homes and social housing in Calderdale carried most weight and agreed to release the land at Claremount, Halifax, to Together Housing.

They accepted the community group’s detailed plans, which would include measures ranging from promoting wider objectives such as recreation and health benefits for all ages to proposals for sports, planting and vegetable growing, would meet many of the council’s own objectives.

But members agreed to uphold Cabinet’s original 2019 decision to release the land for homes.

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Coun Jenny Lynn (Lab, Park), Cabinet member for Public Services and Communities, said: “I know from my own ward work how desperate the need for new homes is, there are 8,000 people on the housing waiting list, so for me the need to look at whatever sites we are able to bring forward to begin to meet that need is important.”

Nicole Jones, speaking for Friends of Horley Green, said they had the necessary management, finance and fundraising skills to realise their plan, tailored their plan to the council’s own objectives, with more than 100 people subscribing to the group’s updates.

New homes would also put pressure on infrastructure such as local schools.

“If we are given the chance to deliver on our plans the council always has the opportunity to claim the land back from us – but we will have the opportunity to prove we can do this,” she said.

Cabinet member for Climate Change and Resilience – which includes the housing portfolio – Coun Scott Patient (Lab, Luddenden Foot) said it was dilemma with Cabinet faced with two “compelling” arguments.

Cabinet hoped that social housing provider Together, which partners the council on some projects, would work closely with the community and that some of the group’s proposals could be developed and incorporated.

Three non-Cabinet councillors had spoken on behalf of the community group, with Coun Roger Taylor (Ind, Northowram and Shelf) saying: “It’s the last green land in Claremount.”

Coun Peter Caffrey (Con, Northowram and Shelf) said the group’s proposals met the council’s own aims and the next nearest green space was three and a half miles away.

Coun Regan Dickenson (Con, Rastrick) reminded Cabinet members of a section of the report which said work would have to be done to be sure the land was suitable for housing.

The council is also under pressure from the Government to deliver more homes, rating poorly among 20 comparative northern boroughs in terms of numbers built year on year.

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