Planning 'non-decision' in Calderdale to be investigated

A Cabinet member has pledged to investigate why a planning application has not been determined by a council after more than three years and with the applicant laying out more than £29,000 in fees.

By John Greenwood - Local Democracy Reporter
Friday, 10th June 2022, 12:27 pm

Ed Greenwood raised the issue in the public question time section of this week’s Calderdale Council Cabinet meeting.

The application, to develop apartments with care for elderly people along with the associated landscaping, access roads and car parking at the former West Vale Works, Stainland Road, West Vale, has been made by Penelope Smith of Congleton-based Gladman Retirement Living Ltd.

Mr Greenwood said the planning application to develop the former mill site, which is in the Greetland and Stainland ward, had been submitted in September 2018, three and a half years ago.

Sign up to our daily Halifax Courier Today newsletter

Calderdale Council Cabinet member Coun Jane Scullion has promised to investigate the issue

The applicant had paid a fee of £29,365 and supplementary evidence to support the application had been submitted by December 2019, he said.

Mr Greenwood said this included environmental, air quality, arboricultural, archaeological, ecological, a detailed consultant’s flood report and more, including evidence gained from talking to residents of similar complexes at Willow Court, Elland, and Leedham Court, Hebden Bridge.

“Had this application been determined, Calderdale MBC would have been in receipt of upwards of £91,000 per annum from Council Tax, over £2 million per annum from disposable income into the Calderdale local community, 64 family homes released into the housing market, probably avoidance of a requirement to provide sheltered accommodation,” he said.

Mr Greenwood said responses to a questionnaire some years ago demonstrated “pent-up” demand for this type of accommodation within the local community.

“Therefore will the responsible Cabinet member fully investigate why the planning department in Calderdale has failed to determine this application according to the legislation in the Town and Country Planning Act?” he said.

Cabinet member for Regeneration and Strategy, Coun Jane Scullion (Lab, Luddenden Foot), said she would provide Mr Greenwood with a written response within the required seven days.

“I’m somewhat astonished to find this in front of me at Cabinet and I certainly have no prior knowledge of this – I’m mystified as to whether an update has been written to me and drawn to my attention before.

“So your question is ‘will the responsible Cabinet member fully investigate why the planning department has failed to determine this planning application according to the legislation’.

“The answer is ‘yes, I will’ and you will receive a written answer from me, but thank you for drawing it to my attention,” she said.

The application received 54 public comments, some objecting to the proposals, including concerns about impact on infrastructure and flooding issues, and some supportive, arguing there was a need for this type of accommodation.