Letter: Make use of valuable sites

The Pump Room before it was demolished
The Pump Room before it was demolished

I AM appalled, whilst the council and developers quibble over planning applications for new build residential properties in Calderdale, and argue over the use of “wildlife corridors” and green belt for this purpose, there appears to be a large number of privately owned derelict properties in various stages of decay.

I am sure we all know of one we have seen on our way to work or play.

Exeter Street at Salterhebble has one. It is a complete shell, no upper windows, floors, services – stripped to the very edge of existence. From across the valley at dusk it looks like a demonic haunted house – something that children’s nightmares are made of.

It strikes me as ironic that we have to bend over backwards to adhere to the rigours of the planning system for extensions and even minor alterations, but we can wilfully reduce a home to a bare brick shell with no recourse.

Why, when it is recognised that we have a housing problem in this country, do we insist on allowing this abject vandalism to continue? A property of this size, though not extravagant, could house two families if converted into two flats and renovated.

What about those people affected by last year’s floods and, God forbid, those that may be affected in the future? Why can’t the council take the initiative and bring these houses back to life?

It makes more environmental sense to refurbish a house because most of the expense is in the shell.

Some councils are now instigating a programme of identifying residences that have been boarded up, are derelict etc, and conducting searches to locate owners and interested parties.

Come on Calderdale Council, at the very least think about it.

There is obviously enough money in the kitty for the ​​A629 road-widening scheme and any compulsory purchases required; the renovation of the Piece Hall; the ‘prospecting’ for development in the town centre, like the demolition of the Pump House site and the car park at Bull Green.

Calderdale Council, I believe you have a “duty of care” to the population of Halifax to make use of this valuable resource, to house people who need somewhere to live.

This is the 21st century after all.

Alexa Rocco, Siddal, Halifax