Calderdale Council should be cutting the number of sites for new homes planned over the next fifteen years to under 10,000. That’s the view of Calderdale Labour Group, who have today announced that they will be calling for a new version of the controversial Local Plan based on this new target.
The council has originally faced with a Government target of finding land for 16,871 houses. As the recent consultation document revealed, this would have resulted in an extensive use of Green Belt, which the Labour Group’s proposal would dramatically reduce, requiring land for 40% fewer homes.
Cllr Tim Swift said ‘We accept that our area needs more decent and affordable housing but the level of development that the Government was expecting us to deliver here in Calderdale was just too high. Back in the summer, I pressed the Government to publish their long-promised consultation on how housing numbers would be allocated. They have now done this, and this confirms our view that the previous rules over-estimated how much land needed to be developed for housing.
“The very special topography of our area, combined with the devastating cuts to public services in recent years, mean there is a limit to how much development we can accommodate. The huge response to the recent consultation shows that this view is widely shared across the whole community, and we are sure there will be strong support for putting forward a lower level of overall development.”
Cllr Dan Sutherland said ‘Our proposed reduction in housing site numbers also means that we can look to reduce the amount of Green Belt land which will be required for housing. We need to strike the right balance between providing enough housing for the future and both maintaining and improving access to the green spaces we all enjoy’.
Council officers are currently working through the responses they received during the consultation. A report will be taken to the Council’s Cabinet in December which will enable cabinet to recommend a reduction in the number of houses required, as well as considering some changes to policies within the draft plan.
If the lower housing target is agreed, a further report will be requested for February which will identify how the reduced housing numbers can be allocated across each area of Calderdale, before a final plan is produced for formal consultation in early summer.
Cllr Barry Collins said ‘Getting the Local Plan right is key to Calderdale’s economy, defining where businesses and jobs will grow as well as new housing. It’s too serious a matter for political bickering so we’re calling on all parties to work with us to get the best outcome or at least put energy and thought into a viable alternative of their own’.