Planning and Hebden Bridge
From Chris B
Thursday, 29 October 2015
There are discussions currently taking place on the HebWeb concerning particular planning issues affecting Hebden Bridge - and I'm sure one of these still has plenty of life in it.
We need to look at what is happening in general terms: why is it happening and what can we do about it?
Hebden Bridge has been badly served over the years by cynical developers and a compliant planning authority. From many (not all) developers I have no expectations of anything better, but I do expect better from the officers and elected members of Calderdale Council.
Our local councillors generally do a very good job, and I'm not criticising them, but it seems that they don't always have the specialist knowledge and experience to fight their case (the misconceptions about the cost of planning appeals is a good example).
There are obviously an awful lot of people in Hebden Bridge who care passionately about what is happening to this town, but objecting to planning applications and posting on HebWeb don't seem to count for much. We also have a lot of people with specialist knowledge and experience (lawyers, architects, planners etc.)
I don't have an easy answer, but I think we've all had enough of being taken for fools.....
From Mark B
Friday, 30 October 2015
I agree completely. The town (or at least the parts I use) has been a mass of scaffolding and footpath/road closures over the last year or so, with no chance of that stopping any time soon.
We've lost two of our pubs/bars over the last couple of years. And now even the wellbeing of our children is being hit (Little Park).
Such as a shame, as, even if the town bounces back, there have been that many good, interesting people move out of the town for precisely these reasons. I know people can always move back but I have a feeling it would be quite hard for many to afford to do so now (prices are rising I hear). Which is unfortunate as I imagine money is precisely the reason why such developments were allowed to happen.
On the other hand. Well done to everyone (continuing) campaigning against the Sainsbury's/ Valley Rd site. I think i'd have also moved out if wasn't for such admirable resilience. At least there's a few of us left ey?
From Anthony Rae
Friday, 30 October 2015
This is a most timely thread because at this very moment there are two really important opportunities available for the town to make their views known on the big issues affecting our future that are influenced by planning. They will shape what happens here over the next 15 years:
- the Hebden Royd and Hilltop Parishes Neighbourhood Plan process is already underway and can be accessed here. (By the way I see its website is not showing up well in search engines so I'll see if that can be improved). I'm a non-voting member of the committee - formed by the Town Council and all four adjacent parish councils that cover a very large area around Hebden - which is overseeing its preparation but their first task has been to seek the views of local people as to what they would like to see in the future. The initial consultation is still open and you can access it here.
- the Calderdale Local Plan is about to come out for its penultimate consultation round (the last one will be next summer) before it goes for public inquiry and adoption. This will identify the number of houses that are required to be built, proposed sites where they might be constructed and also areas possibly to be removed from Green Belt. Its detailed policies will set out the framework governing whether those houses are affordable, energy efficient, at the right density (so we don't waste land), and above all: will they be in a sustainable town centre location on previously developed land, or alternatively on greenfield sites far from facilities and transport connections?
And it will be about much more: our economy, employment, social and cultural facilities, transport, countryside and heritage, renewable energy, climate change and flooding. It will also shape what the more local Neighbourhood Plan can do or not do. As soon as this consultation opens I'll let you know.
From Chris B
Saturday, 31 October 2015
Anthony Rae's post is very useful, and we should all be making our views known in the consultations for the Local and Neighbourhood Plans. Hopefully the end result will be frameworks that the majority of people living and working in the area are happy with.
What concerns me is that well intentioned plans such as these can be ignored and brushed aside by cynical developers and an ineffectual Local Planning Authority. We obviously cannot rely on some developers (and I stress some, not all) to play by the rules, and sadly I fear that we cannot rely on Calderdale to always apply and enforce planning procedures and regulations as they should.
We all need to be vigilant: Calderdale's website makes it fairly easy to look into the details of planning applications, and the HebWeb makes it easy to publicise anything that needs airing. There is also the Planning Portal website, which is a very good resource for learning about anything to do with planning.
Most importantly, we need to pick up anything that needs looking into as early as possible, so that matters can be corrected before it's too late.
From Anthony Rae
Friday, 6 November 2015
The consultation document can now be downloaded here and the introduction to this stage of the Local Plan process is here. The consultation runs until Friday 18th December and there is a drop-in session about its proposals for Hebden Royd in Hebden Bridge Town Hall on Monday 16th November between 4-7pm.
I'll do another post maybe this weekend when I've had a chance to absorb the main points but I've already confirmed that the document does not contain an identified number for the quantity of new houses that the area would be required to allocate for (whereas the 2012 draft plan put this at 250). This apparently will emerge in the final summer 2016 version.
From Tim B
Sunday, 8 November 2015
Plenty of Green field sites identified for potential housing around Old Town, Hebden , Heptonstall, Dodds Naze and Mytholmroyd. See the map here.
I understand there is a consultation event at Hebden Town Hall on Monday 16 November. 4-7pm
From Andy C
Monday, 9 November 2015
These sites are on that map purely because they've been offered by the landowners. That doesn't necessarily make them suitable for housing. Calderdale need to be told this every time they ask - as we did in Mytholmroyd a while back at a packed meeting. Not sure if the results of that 'consultation' were ever published by the council, or buried in their multi-paged website?
From Anne H
Monday, 9 November 2015
Two of the possible sites for housing are very close to me in Old Town – 2 fields above and one below Parrock Lane.
The constraints mentioned on the plan are Rights of Way, Bat Alert and Biodiversity and it might be that these factors alone will disqualify it from further development.
But I worry about the loss of the soak-away function of these 3 fields, leading to greater runoff.
Today, in the heavy rain, a lot of water has run down Walker Lane, Sandy Gate and Birchcliffe! Generally it is accommodated by the drains in this road – which they replaced relatively recently - but they get blocked quite easily with debris and leaves at this time of year.
Water from the moor tends to come down the lanes at 2 sides of the triangular site above Parrock Lane, which are not tarmacked so some of it seeps into the ground. But much of the water from the moor also soaks into the 3 fields (the ones they want to build on). This water does eventually make its way down the valley but much more slowly. I worry that if these fields were built on, and the lanes tarmacked, the flow of water down the valley would be too much and too fast for the drains to cope.
The same goes for any proposed building on the hillsides. Can Hebden Bridge cope with more water running down into the valley – and faster!
From Adrian Riley
Tuesday, 10 November 2015
Andy C is right to query what happened to those letters sent in following the public consultations at different venues throughout the valley. I know of many letters sent in objecting to allocated land listed on the plans at these venues. No one had any acknowledgement and the same piece of land remains on the on-line published document; again asking for comments. To what purpose, if the previous comments have not had any effect?
Everyone must be aware that once the final Local Plan is signed off, future planning applications will be very difficult to object to if they are on the adopted Land Allocation Plan. The Planning Authority will have a presumption in favour.
Also bear in mind that under the proposed Housing Bill, the government intends to give "automatic" permission to housing schemes on allocated sites. See this link
Where then local democracy? Is it all a stitch-up?
From Cllr Janet Battye
Wednesday, 11 November 2015
I want to underline what Anthony Rae is saying about the Local Plan and urge people to go to the consultation session on Monday.
I've got a copy of this and, looking at the map, I have some concerns about it. We've been promoting the importance of building on brownfield sites first so I'm concerned that it looks as though Calderdale Council planners are proposing that fields off Hirst Rd (off Keighley Rd) should be designated as potential housing sites - especialy when, not only are they in the countryside, the access road is not good. And that seems to be something of a theme.
And then they seem to have include land around Dood Naze some of which I think is now allotment and orchard land.
It's not easy to read some of the detail on the maps because they seem to have missed some roads out and transposed some names (eg Dodd Naze and Birchcliffe)
From Steve R
Wednesday, 11 November 2015
Calderdale planners proposing 196 new houses on land they own in Heptonstall. This land is on the Coop fields, the playing fields and the land behind Lilyhall.
From Anthony Rae
Thursday, 12 November 2015
Local proposals - for example the proposed housing allocations around Hebden Bridge that people are beginning to comment on here - need to examined in conjunction with the national planning framework which essentially dictates the scale of what Calderdale is required to provide for, and which is being progressively deregulated in favour of developers and against sustainable planning.
It's now being reported that the effect of the latest relaxation just sneeked out will be that 'Tens of thousands of new homes in greenfield areas to get automatic planning permission'. See this Telegraph article. The article says that: 'Government documents said the new power will apply to "housing identified in local plans and neighbourhood plans" which include greenfield areas.'
So the proposals on the Calderdale sites allocation map need to be read in conjunction with this latest moving of the goalposts. You can see that the potential new housing sites (in orange) are mostly on greenfield sites, and that so many of the more sustainable town centre sites on previously developed land - including e.g the Browns site at Mytholm - have already been excluded (red cross-hatching).
Does this mean that, in practice, if these greenfield sites have to be accepted because all the other alternatives have been ruled out in advance, then the developers will just get their planning permission unchallenged? Maybe - and in addition to pitching in to the local consultation in support of town centre, brownfield development - we should remind the current Communities Secretary of State Greg Clark about what he wrote in 2012 when launching the National Planning Policies Framework: "In recent years, planning has tended to exclude, rather than to include, people and communities. In part, this has been a result of targets being imposed, and decisions taken, by bodies remote from them. ... We are allowing people and communities back into planning."
The latest TCPA briefing on the deregulation now being pushed through by the Housing and Planning Bill 2015 is here. And the outcome of all this deregulation? "The number of planning permissions has increased massively, developers hold huge and growing land banks, yet fewer houses are being built" says the Chief Executive of CPRE.
Finally remember that Hebden Bridge is getting off lightly because of the development constraints in the Upper Valley. With 84% of the proposed sites for the 12,000 new dwellings Calderdale is being required to be provided over the next 15 years being on undeveloped 'green' sites, the Local Plan represents a transformation of how Calderdale is today, particularly around Halifax, Brighouse and Elland – as you can see by looking at the proposals map.
All these new houses being built will have below-standard energy efficiency and higher carbon emissions throughout their long life because in July the government also abolished the zero carbon homes standard. See this Guardian article
From Susi Harris
Sunday, 15 November 2015
Blimey, Dodd Naze will nearly double in size plus some more big chunks near the Brown's site on church lane going into Mytholm.
I am very dismayed to hear the likely poor energy efficiency of the new homes due to stupid government meddling in a perfectly sensible and forward thinking policy. If we the people are as they say going to be more involved in planning could we not make a local stipulation that developers in Hebden Bridge must do this?
From Anthony Rae
Sunday, 15 November 2015
Just a reminder that Calderdale Council's drop-in session about its Local Plan and proposed housing site allocations for Hebden Royd is tomorrow (Mon 16th Nov) in Hebden Bridge Town Hall between 4-7pm. If you want to find out more about the whole process or ask about a particular site this is your chance.
It may well be that some members of the Hebden Royd and Hilltop Parishes Neighbourhood Plan committee - responsible for drawing up a plan at the level below Calderdale's Local Plan, and thinking about how these housing proposals relate to what the Neighbourhood Plan will be trying to achieve - will be there particularly between 6-7pm if people wish to speak to their town or parish councillors.
From Bob Deacon
Wednesday, 18 November 2015
I want to echo Anthony Rae's concerns about the land allocation seeming to favour greenfield sites. In particular I am urging readers of this thread to respond to the plan not just by commenting on the orange 'housing' sites but also commenting on the red hatched filtered out sites.
I among other will argue that many of these filtered out sites be put back in as potential housing. Some, where infill housing could be built in Hebden Bridge have been ruled out just because they are too small...even though they could hold half a dozen or a dozen houses. This policy of excluding small sites can and should be changed. Others are excluded because old demolished house now have become green open space. Examples are LP1510, LP1503, LP1295 and of course the bigger Mytholm site.
If we want to avoid big new estates in greenfield sites on the tops and want more brownfield sites thought of as potential small housing sites then this kind of detailed response is needed.
I would also urge residents to support the plans for mixed use including housing on the (pink) Valley Road and Victoria Road sites. 11 houses as suggested for Valley Road sounds good to me.
From Anthony Rae
Friday, 20 November 2015
The Hebden Royd and Hilltop Parishes Neighbourhood Plan committee (see my post of 30th October) met intentionally immediately after the very well attended drop-in session on Monday. Having considered the various proposed housing site allocations displayed on the maps they discussed whether it would be helpful to undertake an initial and preliminary sift of the sites - to facilitate a process of consultation between the councils, and with the general public - which could then reviewed prior to any formal submission to Calderdale by the councils in December.
Its main purpose would be to assess whether the allocations are consistent with the consensus position which the committee has been working to so far: 'that new housing development would be better located on previously developed/brownfield and sustainably located sites in the town centres of Hebden Bridge and Mytholmroyd (and in the valley bottom), rather than on greenfield/Greenbelt and less sustainably located sites in the upland townships unless there is support for such development there'.
They agreed to consider undertaking such a sift, and accordingly a report has been prepared to go to all five councils. It will be looked at by Hebden Royd Town Council next Wednesday 25th. The report has schedules listing all the proposed housing and mixed use sites, together with examples of some of the brownfield sites that have at the moment been 'filtered' out, and identifies their basic characteristics such as brownfield or Greenbelt/greenfield. The councils, should they choose to do so, can then indicate a preliminary view as to whether such allocations should be supported or not.
Having done that, the next stage would be to publish the schedules and invite public comments on this assessment. There would be time for a limited public consultation which could then inform any formal responses back to Calderdale e.g the Town Council meets again on 16th December and the Local Plan consultation deadline is the 18th. You can see the timescales are tight.
The report emphasises that the purpose of this exercise is not to determine the definitive and formal view of each individual Council concerning the status of these proposed sites. Instead it's just a first look at whether or not there is something of a consensus between councils and the community as what would be the better pattern of future development. It also acknowledges that decisions about possible housing sites are inherently controversial, and that's it's inevitable that people will have different views about where new housing should go - town centres vs. uplands, brownfield vs. greenfield - about what should happen at individual sites, and about the impacts of proposed development near where people live.
As soon as the Town Council has made its decisions next week I'll post the outcome. Let's emphasise as well that we are right at the start of the site allocation process, nothing has been decided nor will it be for many months. But processes like this proposed town/parish councils assessment can help steer things in the right direction.
You may also like to know that the housing sites issue across Calderdale has exploded onto the front page of this week's Courier; and that CPRE have just published an interesting report entitled 'Set up to fail: why housing targets based on flawed numbers threaten our countryside'.
From Anthony Rae
Saturday, 28 November 2015
As per my message of last Friday the Town Council at their meeting on Wednesday did agree to carry out limited consultation on support or otherwise for the proposed housing sites in Hebden Royd. They decided that their position should be determined by the following principle - 'that new housing development would be better located on previously developed/ brownfield and sustainably located sites in the town centres of Hebden Bridge and Mytholmroyd (and in the valley bottom), rather than on greenfield/ Greenbelt and less sustainably located sites in the upland townships unless there is support for such development there' - and then worked their way through the proposed sites, and a sample of 'filtered' (that is, excluded at present) sites that can potentially be re-included, many of which are brownfield.
The consultation was due to start yesterday but I understand there was some glitch with the neighbourhood planning website, so it is hoped that the consultation document will be online on Monday with a closing date of Friday 11th December. I will let you know when it's available.
From Anthony Rae
Monday, 30 November 2015
Further to Saturday's post, the Hebden Royd proposed housing sites consultation is now available online here. You should read the information note which explains the background, and then the schedule of sites. You can submit a response either to firstname.lastname@example.org or using the online form here, and please make sure your name, address and postcode is included.
If you have any questions or need further information, use the same contact methods. The closing date is Friday 11th December but early responses would be welcome.
So - if you have any views about 'brownfield versus Greenbelt', or about a particular site, now's your chance to express them.
From Bob Deacon
Wednesday, 9 December 2015
The Hebden Bridge Partnership which has a membership of 40 organisations in the town and is managed by a board which includes both Hebden Royd Town Council and Calderdale Councillors as well as others elected at its AGM considered the Calderdale Housing allocation document on Monday.
It is sending the response below to the Town Council's consultation process and will be sending a further response to Calderdale's consulation process by December 18th.
As Chair of the HBP I urge everybody in the town and hill top villages to add their own weight to the argument that building on brown field and in-fill sites is preferable for a variety of reasons to building on the tops.
For details of how to send your views look back through this thread to entries by Anthony Rae.
Hebden Bridge Partnership Response to HRTC Consultation on its views concerning the Calderdale Council's Local Plan: Housing Sites Allocation.
At a meeting of the Hebden Bridge Partnership held on December 7th 2013, it was agreed that the views expressed below should be conveyed to HRTC.
1. The context of the views expressed is the position adopted in 2013 by the HBP in its 2020 Vision for Hebden Bridge. That document, agreed and amended after a public consultation held in the Town Hall in Autumn 2013, asserted the following with regard to future housing developments with Hebden Bridge (HBP, 2013, 2020 Vision: 13)
"We strongly recommend that new housing should be focused on existing brown-field sites (areas of former housing or of former industrial use) rather than green-field sites. There are various sites in Hebden Bridge, including Heptonstall Road, Bridge Lanes and Commercial Street, which previously had housing which was demolished during the 1960s-1970s. We would support creative new infill in areas such as these. We see the opportunity for an imaginative 'rebuilding Hebden Bridge' initiative, led directly by the community."
2. The HBP therefore supports the view of the Neighbourhood Planning Committee and the HRTC "that that new housing development would be better located on previously developed/ brownfield and sustainably located sites in the town centres of Hebden Bridge and Mytholmroyd (and in the valley bottom), rather than on greenfield/ Greenbelt and less sustainably located sites in the upland townships unless there is support for such development there".
3. The HBP is therefore also supportive of the draft view of the HRTC regarding their assessment of the suitability or otherwise of the proposed housing and mixed use sites as set out in the schedule published by the HRTC.
4. The HBP is most definitely concerned to argue and support the case that a number of potential brown field and similar sites within HB that had been prematurely filtered out by the Calderdale Council planning officers be reconsidered for inclusion in the final list of potential sites. It is supportive of the re-inclusion of the sample of such sites already considered by the HRTC; namely LP0139, LP1234, LP1503, LP1517. It is concerned to stress the re-inclusion of site LP1517 because the Calder Valley Land Trust brought into existence by the HBP is seeking to have that site transferred to the Land Trust for the purposes of using it for affordable housing.
5. The officers of the HBP will be considering the suitability for re-inclusion of other sites not considered by the HRTC and comment on these directly to Calderdale Council by its consultation deadline of Dec 18th. It will also at that point address the issue of housing density given that the logic of the "imaginative rebuilding of Hebden Bridge" position is that housing density should be greater than current low density approach more appropriate to new open space developments.