Masterplan to crack into nature reserve’s potential

Cromwell Bottom Nature Reserve. North Loop extention to nature reserve on Hillside in the distance.
Cromwell Bottom Nature Reserve. North Loop extention to nature reserve on Hillside in the distance.

A masterplan to develop 100 acres at Cromwell Bottom into outdoor recreation facilities and job opportunities will be discussed by councillors.

Calderdale Council and other bodies are proposing a masterplan for a 100-acre piece of land in the Calder Valley between Elland and Brighouse.

The area is made up of the former landfill site at North Bank Loop and Cromwell Bottom Nature Reserve.

The location makes it ideal for the creation of cycle and walking trails which could easily link the area to Rastrick, Brighouse, Elland, Southowram and the Lowfields industrial estate.

Graham Haigh, from the Cromwell Bottom Wildlife Group, said it has already begun to develop part of the reserve and looked forward to seeing the other proposals.

The group has already had a structure installed which it will use as a shelter and use it as an educational centre for children.

“We started the group to bring the reserve back up to standard.

“The main thing for us is to get people and children down here to educate them about wildlife so they can carry on the work being done here.”

Council bosses have ruled out the site being used for a major employment development because the council owned land is in the Green Belt and because the former Cromwell Bottom tip contains many decades of mixed domestic and commercial refuse which is very deep.

However, the council has stated that the target for revenue input from its own funds “should be zero in order to make the project sustainable in the long term, and every opportunity for complementary self-funding activities would be considered at the design stage”.

The report says that the project is not sufficiently developed to allow cost estimates but investment is likely to be “considerable” over several years. External grants could support capital costs, including European funding. Funds from Section 106 money from local developments could also support the scheme.

The council says that the development of a masterplan would include consultation through public meetings and exhibitions, site activity days and engagement through websites and social media.