Councillors have given the go-ahead for 78 new homes in Calderdale.
Keepmoat Homes and Thornhill Estates Ltd submitted amended plans for the homes on land south of the fire station at Clough Lane at Rastrick and Calderdale Council’s Planning Committee agreed they should be approved, with conditions attached.
Rastrick Neighbourhood Forum provided three of 19 letters of objection received by the council.
The forum raised more than 60 grounds for objection in its correspondence with the council.
Residents’ comments highlighted concerns including air quality, over-intensification of use, inadequate infrastructure, loss of green space, highways, parking and speeding issues, and air and noise pollution.
David Collins, former chair of Rastrick Neighbourhood Forum and acting as an unpaid consultant for its members, said Rastrick had an emerging neighbourhood plan with national guidelines saying council had to give weight to emerging neighbourhood plans.
With Calderdale Council anticpating that the population of the area would increase by 35 per cent to meet housing need, the forum would not support any application for homes until the authority’s own Local Plan had attained legal status – it is still in examination.
Mr Collins claimed the application was not legally compliant, was not sound and duty to co-operate had not been carried out – he said a letter from Keepmoat Homes detailing a consultation event for residents saw many letters contain the wrong postcode, with the result many residents did not turn up to present their views and had not been consulted.
The application failed to detail appropriate housing, said Mr Collins, with a nationally produced assessment indicating 70 per cent of the homes should be one or two-bedroomed to meet the expected need and there were not those numbers.
But the council’s planning lead Richard Seaman said it was too early to attach significant weight to the Rastrick Neighbourhood Plan or even the Local Plan as the latter was still going through process and the latter at an earlier stage.
Coun Pat Allen (Lib Dem, Elland) said councillors were being asked to make a decision without a written report from the council’s own highways officers.
“I can assure you the traffic coming down New Hey Road and Clough Lane is horrendous,” she said.
West Yorkshire Archaeology Advice Service was concerned historical evidence at the site might be lost, she said, adding: “I don’t think the applicant can afford to bring Time Team in – but I don’t think it should be disregarded,” she said.
Coun Allen also raised the issue, taken up by Coun Colin Hutchinson (Lab, Skircoat), about the noise impact of homes being built next to the motorway, with people unable to sleep with windows open on warm nights.
Coun Stephen Baines wanted to know if affordable housing would be enforceable – legal officers said it could not be.
Coun Jenny Lynn (Lab Park) believed a proper playground area for younger children should be planned in to the application and she had also raised issues of energy efficiency, about which she felt information was lacking.
Mr Jonathan Dunbavin, representing both Thornhill Estates and Keepmoat Homes, said a second scheme which may be submitted had Yorkshire Housing in partnership with 13 per cent of 191 units being for rent, 42 homes shared equity and 17 per cent would be made available on a rent-to-buy basis.
The developers would be happy to consider a play area space as part of the applicatuon, he said.
Councillors were told that over concerns about ventilation, it was routine to consider ways other than having to open windows to deal with the issue.
Ultimately, said Coun Paul Bellenger (Lib Dem, Greetland and Stainland) with these homes being built next to a motorway that was already there, it would be a choice of the buyer to live there.
He proposed the plans be permitted – subject to conditions – and the committee agreed.