Local Plan: Brighouse residents worried about being charged for new 'garden communities' facilities

Concerns over charging to use elements of proposed garden community homes in Brighouse have been voiced to senior councillors.
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Masterplanning documents for garden community suburbs at Woodhouse and Thornhill have been open for consultation.

But some of the people already living in the area have been alarmed by the possibility of charges being made for some of the community provision likely to be made there and placed in the hands of stewardship trusts to run and maintain them.

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However, leader of Calderdale Council, Coun Jane Scullion said the idea of such trusts was “tried and tested” and an established way of running things.

Councillor Jane Scullion, leader of Calderdale CouncilCouncillor Jane Scullion, leader of Calderdale Council
Councillor Jane Scullion, leader of Calderdale Council

While most things would be free for all to use, small charges would be made for some things but only in the way already made in other parts of Calderdale.

At the public question time section of a meeting of the full council, Woodouse Residents’ Association raised their concerns.

On behalf of the association, Catherine Kirk said the documents stated facilities would be open to the wider public beyond residents and commercial occupants of the garden communities.

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She asked if it was true those outside of the garden communities would be charged for their use.

She also said the feasibility of stewardship trusts was unclear and asked what guarantees the council had people would engage with this process.

Coun Scullion (Lab, Luddenden Foot) said the proposal was that one stewardship trust would own and manage all the new community assets and facilities across both Woodhouse and Thornhill.

“The trust will be established as a charity which will therefore be required to ensure a public benefit which will be for all residents of the new development and from the surrounding communities, including Woodhouse,” she said.

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“Most of these new facilities – such as the public open space, footpaths, children’s play areas and community gardens – will be just free to use by everyone.

“Other facilities - such as the sports pitches, the pavilion and community buildings - will make small charges to hire or use those buildings in the same way we’re very familiar with in terms of our community centres across the borough to help support their long-term maintenance, cleaning and operation.”