Developers 'less keen to recognise health and wellbeing concerns' in plans Calderdale councillors told

Developers not seeing eye-yo-eye with Calderdale Council
Developers not seeing eye-yo-eye with Calderdale Council

Developers are a lot less keen than the local authority to recognise health and wellbeing concerns in planning applications, a senior council officer has said.

Health and wellbeing issues have been built into Calderdale’s Local Plan and are important considerations for planning applications in the future, planning lead Richard Seaman told the council’s Adults Health and Social Care Scrutiny Board.

But some developers did not see eye-to-eye over the issue.

The borough’s Local Plan is half way through examinations not likely to continue until January at the earliest when phase two, which will look at individual sites, begins.

All councils have to have one, and when finally approved Calderdale’s Local Plan will shape where new homes and businesses can be developed in Calderdale until 2032.

Health and wellbeing were taken seriously through the Local Plan said Mr Seaman, developed with Public Health colleagues and taking into account responses given during consultations.

He gave several examples as to where policies would feed into planning considerations, for example, new hot food takeaways would not be allowed within 400 metres of a school’s entrances, with obesity a health issue.

But developers were less enthusiastic, said Mr Seaman.

“It has been out to public consultation and responses from developer interests is disappointing in certain respects.

“A lot of the development interests feel that aspects of what we are trying to achieve should be watered down, made less onerous,” he said.

Accordingly, the council would have to work hard to to get policies the council believed were important embedded into the plan, he said, with preventative actions around health.

Programme manager Richard Spensley spoke about liasion with Calderdale’s Clinical Commissioning Group and GPs on issues which included demographic change and what pressure new homes and businesses would put on the health system.

Coun Colin Hutchinson (Lab, Skircoat) said other local authorities had limits on how many takeaways their area could have.

“I am disappointed but not surprised that businesses are not happy but my concern is that isn’t ambitious enough,” he said.

Coun Hutchinson also spoke about the need for new buildings to have renewable energy sources but Mr Spensley said other considerations had to be balanced, the risk, for example, where several windfarms cross-border around Todmorden could “merge” on the landscape.

Coun Sophie Whittaker (Con, Rastrick) asked questions about the Woodhouse Garden Suburbs masterplanning, which would make demands on infrastructure including health and education, and wanted to know if there were timescales for when this would be needed.

Mr Spensley said these issues were being worked on and also included social care.

Coun Marilyn Greenwood (Lib Dem, Greetland and Stainland) asked questions about developers preferring to build six “huge” homes on a large plot rather than more of the affordable housing the borough required.

Coun Mike Barnes (Lab, Skircoat) agreed and said Calderdale’s ageing demographic needed to be taken into account.