Thanks to new government guidelines issued in September the number of houses to be built in Calderdale has been reduced by 40 per cent.
This is surely good news (except for developers). All the political parties can claim a victory of sorts.
The ruling administration can say it has listened to the 8,000 responses to the recent consultation. The Conservative group can point to their campaigning and massed public meetings.
The Lib Dems can claim to be saviours of the green belt.
Really, however, it’s just dumb luck. Last month Sajid Javid, the Secretary of State, wrote to the council to tell them to get a move on. He has a point. The legislation enabling the Local
Plan was published in 2004! Successive administrations of all parties have been reluctant to publish this plan, mainly for political reasons. No party wants to publish it in an election year, because it’s a vote loser, and losing votes in a finely balanced council where a few votes can make the difference in who holds power is anathema to politicians.
So can the residents of Brighouse, Elland, Hipperholme and Lightcliffe, Clifton and Rastrick now breathe easily?
It is impossible to imagine that the original 6,000 planned houses, out of a new grand total of 9,000, will now be built in these areas.
A lot of the condemnation of the “old” numbers was around the lack of infrastructure. But where are the infrastructure £ millions being spent?
The A629 from Ainley Top via Salterhebble, a railway station in Elland, new road and industrial park at Clifton, new junction on the M62 at Rastrick, improvements to the Bradford/Huddersfield link through Brighouse, with a possible bypass.
I don’t think you need to be psychic to guess where the bulk of the houses are going.
You never know, we may get lucky again and as my Auntie Joyce, who lives in Morley, is wont to say, better to be lucky than smart!
What has happened to Calderdale’s winter gritting programme? Simple really. New government guidelines slavishly adopted by the council in an effort to save a few quid. The resultant torrent of complaints hastening a skidding U-turn.
The problem is that the new guidelines take no account of the gradient of roads or the amount of traffic on them. Unbelievable. Where does the highways department think we live? Norfolk?
The newly “reorganised” highway department has employed a lot of staff new to the area, who simply, through no fault of their own it must be said, do not know the area. The sensible thing to do would be to revert to the programme of last winter, bite the bullet on costs and before next winter talk to some local people (perhaps even local councillors, God forbid) about the needs of their area. It’s not rocket science.
Brexit comment: If we have to pay £40 million to access the EU market to sell our British made goods, what do they have to pay to sell us their cars? Just asking.