Fierce row continues over Calderdale's garden suburbs plan

View over Clifton near Brighouse
View over Clifton near Brighouse

A fierce debate is raging on over the formation of the Local Plan and  the effect on South East Calderdale, particularly in Brighouse, where two homes schemes dubbed Garden Suburbs could add thousands of people to its population.

As well as highways and education infrastructure issues, the Garden Suburbs, at Thornhills and Woodhouse, were debated by the Cabinet’s Local Plan Working Party.

If given the go-ahead, the garden suburbs could add more than 3,000 new homes by the end of the plan’s life in 2032, almost a quarter of the total expected to house an increased Calderdale population as a whole.

Councillors expressed concerns over the strain which would be put on infrastructure capacity and council officers said policy and strategy for developing these had to be absolutely right.

It is estimated that around 1,100 homes at Thornhills and just over 300 at Woodhouse, expected to ultimately find space for 1,936 and 1,223 homes respectively, might be built before planned major transport infrastructure changes are delivered, expected by 2025.

Planned transport infrastructure spending of around £67 million should be completed by then, improving movment between the A644 and A641 at Brighouse, between the A641 and A6025 at Elland, some junction remodelling, improvements at Bailiff Bridge, Brighouse town centre improvements and, if a bid is successful, for the Clifton Business Park Transport network.

The council has drawn up its own schemes as to how the Garden Suburbs should be developed, along lines first developed by Ebenezer Howard in his book “Garden Cities Of Tomorrow”, published just before the turn of the 20th century, rather than the “new towns” which appeared after the second world war, offering benefits of both town and country living, well-planned and with green spaces.

More recent similar schemes include 2,000-home Dissington Garden Village in Northumberland.

Calderdale officers have drawn up Garden Suburb designs but admit it is fair to say landowners, who were coming together as part of a natural process after the schemes were first announced last year, have come forward with their own ideas.

The Garden Suburbs have formed part of another aspect of the Local Plan, Masterplanning, which will set out more detailed guidelines which schemes must meet before approval.