I HAVE lived in the Halifax area all of my life, and never felt the need to question the integrity of the local council, but after recent events, I feel I have to make some kind of comment with regard to the actions of this council, in particular the planning committee.
As readers are no doubt aware, the council are planning “regeneration” of the Copley valley - building houses and commercial premises on, what is believed to be, green belt land. This has caused a huge backlash from the residents of the Copley area. The main concerns being the increase in traffic, the effect this would have on local wildlife, and the belief of potential of flooding in the residential area of Copley village, as the proposed building plans appear to show the new buildings will be situated on the flood plains of the River Calder. Residents are worried where the floodwaters will run off. I might add that in 25 years of living in the village, flooding has not occurred.
The land the developers are looking to build on is situated off Wakefield Road, on uncultivated land, over the other side of the canal. At this time, the planning committee have not yet passed approval for this building to take place due to objections and actions raised by the residents of the Copley area.
The only access to this land is down a side road, called Hollas Lane, which leads to the staff car park of Lloyds TSB data centre. The road continues to a bridge that crosses the canal, and effectively now leads nowhere.
On Monday, February 21, a letter was despatched to residents by Calderdale Council advising them of a meeting taking place.
The meeting took place the following day, Tuesday, February 22, at 3pm. As the post is not delivered first thing, and on most days does not arrive till nearer lunchtime, most of the residents were not in a position to read their letter until they had returned from work, when the meeting was almost over. In my own case, I did not get home till turned 8pm when the meeting was over, and a decision made. A few residents were able to attend the meeting, and unsurprisingly, the planning committee passed the application for the “improvements.” I can only say that the council appear to have railroaded this application through.
I can only assume that as the planning committee have approved the replacement of “the bridge to nowhere,” the rest of the regeneration plans are already planned to go ahead. The local council have obviously not taken into account and allayed the fears of the residents, and have not taken into account the current economic situation.
This paper, on behalf of the council, pronounced that the regeneration would create 600 new jobs in the Halifax area. We are in the middle of a recession! All I can see is a white elephant, where we will have nice new buildings, but no-one occupying them.
Even if the buildings are occupied, we still have the potential problem of the flooding and the traffic. The council have not provided any plans to protect the villagers further down the valley from the flooding or the increase in traffic.
I do not watch much TV, but I remember a phrase from one of the Dr Who programmes, normally aimed at children, but can also be aimed at councillors on planning committees, “Water always wins!”.
Think again councillors, you may be opening a major can of worms for yourselves in the future.
S J Lang