Letter: Protect our green spaces

Green belt land
Green belt land

After attending a public meeting last night hosted by Craig Whittaker, I feel moved to urge people, particularly on the Park Road side of Elland to be aware of the Calderdale Local Plan, and the deadline for comments, and objections which is September 29, 2017.

Some people at the meeting weren’t even aware of the plans to build on green belt in various areas in and around Elland. It is vital that we oppose this plan, on an individual basis. This is important, as petitions only count as one objection.

The particular area which is dear to me is the large field behind Valley Mill, and our house in Plains Lane. I moved there 20 years ago, and the main reason was to live near nature, and an have an open aspect. I always believed it would be protected because it was green belt. I know this doesn’t count for much re: planning law, when opposing planned house building, but there are plenty of other reasons that this is not be a feasible plan.

The plan is to build 600 houses behind Valley Mill, which would mean an average of potentially 1,200 extra vehicles impacting on our already very stressed road system.

I don’t need to say much about congestion on Elland bypass, or the gridlock in West Vale when the bridge was out of action! It was an utter nightmare for commuters, and the school run. These roads are still very busy now, so how on earth would increased traffic impact on those roads and communities?

How would Exley Lane, or wherever the access point would be, cope with that amount of extra traffic? Would infrastructure such as roundabouts have to be put in place, and if so where is that money coming from?

How would our already depleted and run down town centre cope with over 1,000 more human beings? We have no bank, one cash point at the Post Office, which is a fair walk for the elderly from the town centre, and another at Morrisons even further away.

Local schools are already overstretched financially, and full, we have no junior schools near the proposed development. The local bus services over ‘this side’ of the bridge are spartan to say the least. We have no local shops over here either.

Further flooding in the area is inevitable, and the field in question absorbs a massive amount of water as it runs off the hills. The devastating floods of 2015 would have been even worse had there been a housing estate there.

This is not a case of ‘not in my back yard’, yes we may need more housing, but what about derelict properties that are structurally sound which could be converted, old mills, and Brownfield sites? It should be that green belt land is only ever used in extreme circumstances. We should protect our precious green spaces for future generations for as long as we can.

We need to prevent urban sprawl, otherwise Elland will become just another suburb of Halifax. Sheep are grazing happily right now, and we often see deer and their young, a variety of bird life including woodpeckers, owls and kestrels, and foxes running free.

It is vital that we protect nature and wildlife, and our green spaces for our children and grandchildren, and the wildlife that inhabits it.