Halt to M62 smart motorway scheme will not see Calderdale housing plan altered

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The Government’s decision to put a five year brake on all-lane running Smart Motorways does not mean there is a need to alter development timescales in Calderdale’s draft Local Plan.

Calderdale Council has responded to a written question on the issue asked by Planning Inspector Katie Child, who will determine whether the draft Local Plan is sound and should be approved.

She will write to the council with her conclusions when some outstanding consultation matters have been completed, following a final hearing session at the beginning of January, which she said she hoped would be the last.

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The post-hearing letter will set out her thoughts and whether more modifications will need to be made, said the Inspector, who has run the hearings which began in summer 2019.

The M62 motorwayThe M62 motorway
The M62 motorway

But she wrote to the council last week asking the council to confirm whether or not the Government’s decision to pause the roll out of Smart Motorways – to gather five years’ worth of safety data – had any implications for the council’s delivery of the Local Plan.

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This was because the M62 junction 20-25 Smart Motorway scheme had been identified in the plan as a “local intervention”.

The council has published its technical note in reply, and says the pause on the Smart Motorway roll out does not mean there is a need to alter the scale or timing of planned growth or impacts on individual sites for a number of reasons, referring to the authority’s earlier document CC122.

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They argue this is because the Smart Motorway roll out has not been linked to the delivery of specific sites as part of the Infrastructure Development Plant which runs in parallel with the draft Local Plan.

The council says the primary aim of Smart Motorways were improved operations and safety rather than making local plan growth easier and it did not address areas of concern at junctions which were included in document CC122.

And traffic modelling undertaken for the council by consultants WSP for cumulative impact assessment has not included the Smart Motorway, says the council.

If after the five-year review the Smart Motorway was continued, that would still be within the Local Plan period, says the council.

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Calderdale Council hopes the plan – which will determine where around 9,700 new homes might be built in the borough into the early 2030s – will be approved by the Inspector and can be enacted, shaping planning policy.

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