Conservative councillor George Robinson: Why the Local Plan is a bad deal for Hipperholme and Lightcliffe

Local Plan protest
Local Plan protest

The Local Plan is not a good deal for my Ward, any insinuation otherwise is facetious at worst, naïve at best… however don’t just take my word for it, take a look at the evidence.

We need houses, this is not disputed. Calderdale Council have produced a ‘Local Plan’ allocating 12,600 houses for development across Calderdale. Unfortunately this plan was passed, and it’s not exactly a ‘good news story’ for Hipperholme.

Many are familiar with Hipperholme’s congestion woes. Hipperholme Lights have been called ‘Notorious’ by the Huddersfield Examiner, I call them a 24/7 nightmare. So let’s debunk a myth that the additional traffic from the mass housing developments in Brighouse, Rastrick, Northowram and Shelf will not travel through Hipperholme…

Here, let’s use an empirical approach and not rely on travel pattern guesstimates.

The Local Plan is established on an ‘evidence base’ which, according to Calderdale Council, “provides robust evidence of the development needs, pressures and issues within the Borough”. This document mentions repeatedly (11 times to be exact) the negative impact and lack of improvements proposed for Hipperholme Lights.

The evidence base even concludes; “Development in either of the key settlements of Halifax and Brighouse would give rise to a need for as yet unplanned major interventions at the Stump Cross and Hipperholme junctions”; yet no such need has been proposed by the Council.

Let’s not reach the wrong conclusions by merely postulating the consequences of the additional traffic movements. The evidence is pointing to one thing… the Local Plan is a bad deal for Hipperholme.

However there is a far more sinister consequence of congestion… air pollution. It was recently reported that 4.5 per cent of adult mortality in Calderdale stems from long term exposure to long term particulate air pollution.

This has direct relevance to Hipperholme due to our ‘Air Quality Management Area’, containing 55 micrograms of nitrogen dioxide per cubic meter of air, according to Calderdale’s 2017 Air Quality Annual Status Report. This was the highest and indeed worst level recorded in Calderdale.