Homes plan for former Calderdale youth centre set to go before planning committee

Part of a planning report which says there is enough parking available to service a 41-bed house of multiple residency in Brighouse has been slammed as “nonsense” by a ward councillor.

By John Greenwood - Local Democracy Reporter
Monday, 23rd May 2022, 12:18 pm
Updated Monday, 23rd May 2022, 12:21 pm

And another questions whether the council has got value for money in selling the property.

When Calderdale Council’s Planning Committee meets on Tuesday, May 31 (2pm) at Halifax Town Hall, planning officers recommend councillors approve proposals to create the home at Brighouse Youth Centre building at Healey Wood Road, Brighouse.

Olive Branch Properties Ltd is seeking planning permission to make alterations to the former youth centre to create the 41-bed accommodation.

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Brighouse Youth Centre, Aire St

However, objections received about the plans, including those by Rastrick ward councillors, Conservatives Coun Sophie Whittaker and Coun Regan Dickenson, voice concerns about whether there is enough space for the potential number of residents to park their cars.

The report to the committee by council officers agrees with a supporting statement submitted for the developer by Acumen Designers and Architects which says it is expected many of the residents will use public transport.

But in her comments Coun Whittaker claims “this is nonsense.”

Coun Whittaker says parking is “a huge problem” on the surrounding residential streets and this is well documented and fully acknowledged by the council.

“A few years ago, we (Rastrick Councillors) submitted a petition to Full Council on behalf of local residents to highlight the problem parking around the residential streets of the Brighouse train station, including Aire Street.

“These streets are also used to accommodate the overflow of vehicles from the train station because of the lack of parking provision there – something that has blighted local residents and caused huge problems for many years.

“This petition gathered hundreds of signatures, and the council acknowledged the problem.”

Coun Dickenson agrees and says: “Any proposal for redevelopment of the site needs to provide an over provision for parking on site above that of guidelines to eliminate the need for on street parking.”

Coun Dickenson has also voiced concerns the council is getting value for money in his comments on the application published on the council’s Planning Portal.

He says: “My understanding is that the site was sold for £175,000.

“I was also led to believe that remedial works to preserve the fabric of the building would be about £2million, and that it would have to be demolished as such renovation would be uneconomic.

“This development seems to give the lie to this and suggests that somewhere, the council has had the wool pulled over its eyes and that yet again the Council Tax payers have been robbed of maximising the real value of this plot.”

Acumen says the proposed development retains the existing building, creating 16 units on the ground floor, 14 units on the first floor and 11 units on the second floor.

It says the proposed development will provide good quality affordable housing which “will be vetted and Licensable by the Local Authority.”

All bedrooms will be en suite, fully furnished, and wi-fi connected.

There will be trade bins for communal waste which will be collected weekly. It is intended there will be a dedicated caretaker on site to handle everyday issues.

The communal areas will be covered by CCTV and there will be ample external lighting to help overcome any security concerns, says the statement.

“Prospective tenants will undergo an application process to establish suitability and which will involve taking references and background checks.

“In all cases sustainable tenancies will be sought. These administrative capabilities are already established within the applicant’s operations.

“It is envisaged that the accommodation will suit cost-concious tenants seeking fully furnished, high quality hassle-free renting inclusive of utility charges and are likely to be users of public transport,” says the statement.

A new access and car park deck is proposed on the south side of the site – Healey Wood Road – says the report to councillors.

Previously, outline planning permission for up to 24 homes on the site was permitted.