Calderdale's first ever Green councillor sets out priorities for his term in office

Calderdale’s first Green Party councillor will use his position to scrutinise the council policies such as the Local Plan, he says.

By John Greenwood - Local Democracy Reporter
Tuesday, 10th May 2022, 7:00 am

The biggest shock of this year’s Calderdale Council elections came in Northowram and Shelf ward, which has usually been a Conservative stronghold.

At the count on May 6, the seat was taken by the Green Party’s Martin Hey, unseating long-serving senior Conservative Stephen Baines by seven votes.

Coun Hey (Green, Northowram and Shelf) said his priorities for the next four years included seeking to change proposals to build thousands of homes across the borough, including many in his own ward, and making “congested” roads safer.

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Martin Hey, Green Party wins Northowram and Shelf at Calderdale Council Election count 2022

The draft Local Plan indicates 13,595 homes will be delivered in Calderdale over its 15-year life into the early 2030s and the council has said it aims to deliver 9,970 homes to Year 10 and then reassess need.

Government has instructed councils to formulate Local Plans and suggested initial housing numbers expected but Calderdale’s has increased numbers following a “growth” strategy which the plan’s opponents have questioned.

Planning Inspector Katie Child, appointed by the Government, is now considering whether Calderdale’s Local Plan is sound and legally compliant.

Coun Hey vowed to “shake things up a bit” and did not take support for granted.

“I’m delighted to become the first Green councillor elected to Calderdale Council.

“The Greens have been making gains across the country and it’s fantastic to see the people of Halifax also choose Green representation for the first time.

“As the first Green on the council, I am proud that voters in Northowram, Shelf, Claremount and Shibden have put their trust in me and I will do everything I can to make Calderdale a fairer and greener place, as well as shaking things up a bit.”

He said that earlier this year, he launched a petition to reduce the speed limit at “accident blackspot” Stone Chair roundabout, with Green Party co-leader Carla Denyer.

He said his win was down to the fact that voters felt disillusioned and let down by the two main parties – Labour and Conservatives – while there is a growing awareness about the need for urgent action to tackle climate change.

“People are turning to the Greens because they know that we work hard for communities and don’t take their support for granted.

“It came up time and time again on doorsteps that residents feel ignored by the Conservatives and Labour and want to see more done to tackle the cost of living and climate crisis.

“As a Green, I will be able to scrutinise and challenge council plans more and stand up for local communities who want a better future for their loved ones and the planet,” he said.

Labour retained its overall majority over other parties of five seats following last Thursday’s poll, which saw results declared on Friday, May 6.

The end results leave Labour on 28 seats, the Conservatives with 15, the Liberal Democrats have six, Greens one and Independents one.

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