'Long overdue' housing plan to meet desperate need of Calderdale homes

A five-year housing strategy is “long overdue” to meet a desperate need in Calderdale, councillors heard.

By John Greenwood - Local Democracy Reporter
Friday, 8th October 2021, 6:00 am
Updated Friday, 8th October 2021, 10:32 am

Bringing forward new homes people can buy and starting to tackle what one councillor said were “Victorian” housing conditions some renters were living in are also among reasons the Calderdale Housing Strategy should be adopted, Calderdale Council’s Cabinet were told.

They agreed to recommend to the full Calderdale Council that it endorses and adopts the strategy.

Coun Scott Patient (Lab, Luddenden Foot), Cabinet member for Climate Change and Resilience, which includes the housing portfolio, said a policy was long overdue and would operate alongside the borough’s Local Plan if it is approved.

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Housing strategy was discussed by councillors

“A safe home is a basic human need – Calderdale Council has a role in meeting that need,” he said, not alone, but with housing associations and other property developers.

The policy would also play a part in helping Calderdale tackle the climate crisis and in reducing inequalities, said Coun Patient.

Coun Jenny Lynn (Lab, Park), Cabinet member for Public Services and Communities, said housing was a critical issue in her own ward, and, as an example, on the day of the meeting had three constituents contact her in “desperate need” of a house.

It could take two, three or four years to get a family rehoused, she said, with people living in overcrowded situations and conditions in rented homes was in some cases poor.

“It’s an absolute disgrace and there are many homes in Calderdale where we could have found similar conditions in Victorian England.

“I welcome anything that can be done try and enlarge the stock, in particular the social housing sector.

“We want to bring forward homes people can buy and come and live in Calderdale but also want to tackle some of the Victorian conditions some of our residents are still living in,” she said.

Coun Patient said the policy needed to meet the needs of homeless people, elderly people and disabled people.

Chairing the meeting, Deputy Leader of the Council, Coun Jane Scullion (Lab, Luddenden Foot) said another goal was to see sites which had planning permission actually developed.

“We would very much like powers from Government to lever them into being,” she said.

Coun Steven Leigh (Con, Ryburn) and Coun James Baker (Lib Dem, Warley) were invited to speak and Coun Leigh said the Local Plan was not a panacea so a policy was needed to run alongside it.

Coun Baker said repurposing old buildings to use brownfield sites rather than the least suitable green belt sites should be a priority.

Cabinet also agreed to keep working in partnership with Together Housing to meet housing needs, reviewing objectives and aligning these with those set out by new Metro Mayor of West Yorkshire, Tracy Brabin.

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