Local Plan: Calderdale Council's bid to use emergency powers to build link road called in for scrutiny

Opposition councillors have called in for scrutiny two decisions linked to business and housing developments near Brighouse.
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Earlier this month, Calderdale Council’s cabinet approved “in principle” using compulsory purchase powers (CPO) to secure land which would become a £12.2m link road for a proposed new business park at Clifton near Brighouse.

They also agreed to submit a £600,000 bid to West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s (WYCA) Employment Land Accelerator Fund to fund the next stages of work for the Clifton Business Park.

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Cabinet members said these were important decisions concerning development of the infrastructure route and business park to boost the borough’s economic future and help attract people to live and work in Calderdale.

The plan will be discussed at a council meeting on MondayThe plan will be discussed at a council meeting on Monday
The plan will be discussed at a council meeting on Monday

But the business park needs further consideration, some opposition councillors believe.

The decisions have been called in for scrutiny by Coun Peter Caffrey (Con, Northowram and Shelf) – who is a member of the board – group leader Coun Steven Leigh (Con, Ryburn) and Coun Howard Blagbrough (Con, Brighouse).

The decisions have been called in for scrutiny because the councillors believe further assessment is necessary to consider the merits of using compulsory purchase powers for the road, which is linked to the Clifton Business Park Enterprise Zone proposals, and the merits of the enterprise zone, for which the accelerator funding is sought.

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The call-ins will be heard at Place Scrutiny Board’s meeting on Monday, March 25, which runs from 6pm at Halifax Town Hall.

In the debates, Coun Caffrey will first of all state why he feels the decision should be re-examined and the cabinet member with responsibility for Climate Action, Active Travel and Housing, Coun Scott Patient (Lab, Luddenden Foot) along with any relevant officers will then be invited to respond.

The board has three options members can vote on after the debates – they can release the decision for implementation, refer the decision back to Cabinet, setting out in writing the nature of its concerns and financial implications, or refer the matter to full council.

Cabinet members heard the road will also support proposed garden communities which could see thousands of new homes built at Thornhills, near Brighouse, as indicated in the council’s new Local Plan and by providing a direct route between Clifton Common (A643) and Wakefield Road (A644) it will help alleviate congestion in Brighouse town centre.

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This in turn will complement a corridor improvement scheme for the A641 linking Bradford and Kirklees via Brighouse.

The business park would be a “regionally significant” employment site, set to deliver around 1,300 jobs by 2035, cabinet members heard.

Bids made by the council for Levelling Up funding to Government in 2021 and 2022 were unsuccessful but cabinet have resolved to keep exploring funding options for the scheme