Letter: Calderdale is in danger of vast urban sprawl

View of Halifax from Beacon Hill
View of Halifax from Beacon Hill

The Friends of Calderdale’s Countryside is a group of volunteers who work in partnership with Calderdale Countryside and Woodlands Service in the protection, enhancement and promotion of Calderdale’s countryside.

As such, we are very concerned about the proposals for large scale development around the villages of Calderdale, eating into our valuable open space. One of the major attractions of Calderdale to visitors and residents is the lack of urban sprawl and the accessibility of our beautiful countryside.

The government has instructed local councils to encourage and increase new house building projects, but we feel our local council should look carefully at what is best for our local area and local people. Does our council have knowledge of the number of empty properties including mills which could be developed or demolished to provide building land in Calderdale and the number of “brownfield” sites that could be developed? With firm action by the council (compulsory purchase of long term empty properties, and working in partnership with other organisations etc), we should not have to face the possibility of losing our green spaces.

Other factors which need to be considered include provision of school places, doctors’ surgeries and general infrastructure, all of which are already under pressure. Development of Calderdale’s open spaces will restrict residents’ access to the countryside. We will have even busier roads in areas of limited public transport. Large scale development is taking place in areas susceptible to flooding such as flood plains. Have we not learned the lessons of the dreadful floods in the Calder Valley in recent years? Open space and green belt land will be lost forever. In Calderdale we are in danger of merging villages into towns and creating a vast urban sprawl.