Town centre living could help revitalise Calderdale high streets says councillor

Town centre living could revitalise high streets and stave off the need to build on green belt land, a councillor has said.

Thursday, 4th March 2021, 5:00 pm

Coun Regan Dickenson said recent weeks had seen devastating news about future prospects for high streets.

His comments were made to February’s full Calderdale Council meeting questions-to-Cabinet section in the wake of closure announcements by a number of retail companies nationally which had been fixtures and big name brands on high streets up and down the country.

“It seems that the offer needs to go beyond retail and commercial to residential as well.

Halifax town centre

“This has a potential impact on our housing allocations.

“How do we go about building suitable housing and converting existing buildings into dignified living accommodation?” said Coun Dickenson (Con, Rastrick).

He said he hoped the council could give an assurance that green belt sites would be among the last, if not the last, to be considered for building on for homes.

Cabinet member for Regeneration and Strategy, Coun Jane Scullion said in terms of the high street she agreed, although problems with retail and particularly chain retail were here before the pandemic, with people opting for out-of-town centres for choice and small cities being particularly badly affected.

“The offer really has to be about an experience, which is where our hospitality and refreshment businesses really come into their own, because people come in for a meal as well as doing a bit of shopping.

“Having more people living in our town centres has got to be part of that,” she said.

Coun Scullion (Lab, Luddenden Foot) said Brighouse Town Board in their bid for Government money was taking a look into living in the town centre.

On the green fields issue, she said the principal of the council’s draft Local Plan was “green belt last”.