A former industrial site will house almost 100 new homes in north Halifax in an £8.5 million scheme.
Calderdale Council’s Planning Committee agreed plans submitted by Gleeson Regeneration Ltd should go ahead once concerns about materials and a wildlife haven on the former industrial site at Hebble Brook Business Park, Hays Lane, Mixenden, should be given the go-ahead.
Office buildings on the 3.4 hectare site were demolished last year and when completed it will provide 30 two-bedroom semi-detached homes, 28 three-bedroom semi-detached homes, 34 three-bedroom detached homes and six four-bedroom detached homes.
The application was brought before the committee because of its sensitive nature and 11 letters of objection had been received, highlighting concerns about over-intensification of use of the site, the choice of materials, parking, infrastructure, flooding risk and environmental wildlife concerns not lead a pond that was a habitat for wildlife.
Although the site is allocated as a new employment site in the revised unitary development plan the council still operates under, permission already exists to build homes there and for five years up to 2015 it had been marketed but no buyer secured.
Given the lack of demand for the site for employment generating uses the benefit of providing extra housing land would outweigh that and the proposal should be supported, said council planners.
They did have concerns about a number of issues regarding layout of the site but these had now been addressed to officers’ satisfaction, councillors heard.
Councillors wanted more details about some aspects of the plan.
Councillor David Kirton (Con, Hipperholme and Lightcliffe) asked about the choice of materials, in red brick, and the size of a pond which would be created to compensate for the loss of the original on the site. Coun Carol Machell (Lab, Todmorden) wanted assurances a dry stone wall at the edge of the site would be maintained.
A spokesperson for objectors, Ray Sutcliffe, said the development was “far too big for its boots” at Mixenden village which had a lot of older properties all built in stone.
He questioned why red brick instead of stone was allowed in this case and went on to express concerns about the volume of traffic this number of new homes would create.
“These roads and that lane will not take that traffic. It’s just too much pressure on the system and in the future it will come back to bite you. It will cause a lot of problems,” he said.
The new pond would be “miniscule” compared to the original, he added.
Officers said materials included a mix of some darker red bricks with lighter ones and were in accord with the colour of buildings which had previously been on the site.
Coun Daniel Sutherland (Lab, Illingworth and Mixenden) said some of the issues had been dealt with, but there was still a lot being squeezed onto one site.
He was glad a proposal was coming along for the site as it had been empty for a long time and ward councillors agreed something needed doing with it.
He retained reservations about the number of homes, while understanding this was because the developers wanted it to stack up financially and there were some lower cost homes. The style risked being a bit “gaudy” he said.
Planning lead Richard Seaman said some of the homes were affordable in the context of being a price point which people would be able to take up.
Senior land manager for the company Brian Meadows said Gleeson specialised in building low cost homes for sale with the aim that 90 per cent of local working couple could afford a home – the two-bedroom home started around £105,000 with a scheme meaning initial cost could be even less.
The company did not sell to private landlords and commitments it made to communities up and down the north included junior football team sponsorship and an apprenticeship scheme.
The plans represented an £8.5 million investment with around £2.8 million of that going on wages for direct or indirect labour involved.
On approval work would begin straight away – the company did not “land bank”, he said.
He gave assurances the wildlife pond would be regulated and maintained, following further questioning from Coun Colin Peel (Con, Brighouse).
Coun Kirton said the lighter colour of brickwork which would be used was OK and it would be nice if the scheme was all that colour.
Mr Seaman said in terms of density it was important to make efficient use of the site.
Coun Faisal Shoukat (Lab, Park) said while he was not convinced of the aesthetics he was reassured highways concerns had been addressed and recommended approval, backed by
Coun Kirton who said he was extremely pleased to see a site like this developed and one thing that had come across well is it would allow people to get homes at a low price.