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Below is the coverage of the Garden Street Development as it unfolded over the past years (2004-2010) on the Hebden Bridge Web — later news will be added at the bottom of the page.

From HebWeb news Wednesday, November 24, 2004

AGM of the Hebden Royd Partnership

A well attended AGM of the Hebden Royd Partnership (including David Fletcher) unanimously supported a motion proposed by Councillor Stuart Brown to write to Calderdale Council asking them to suspend the sale of the Pitt Street buildings and all council owned property (including land such as the Garden Street car park) until a strategy for Hebden Bridge is produced.

From HebWeb news 19th February 2005

The "gentrification" demo of February 2005 highlighted council property that was under threat of being sold off. Demonstraters marched round the town stopping at each place - hold the mouse over the image above to see them at the Garden Street car park.


Full house at "Watchdog" public meeting at the White Lion

From HebWeb news, 3rd May 2007

The meeting was called to discuss recent developments and improvements in Hebden Bridge and surrounding villages and to consider setting up an independent, non-political forum to oppose unsympathetic development and to promote development that is more in-keeping with the character of the town and surrounding villages.

From the "Watchdog" Minutes reporting the same meeting at the White Lion

" … There was also much general criticism of the plan for a multi-storey car park on the garden Street site and particular criticism from people with flats in the converted mill opposite who had bought them without knowing about the plan to build the car park. It was estimated that the Garden Street multi-storey car park would provide only an additional 31 parking spaces in all."

From HebWeb News: Tuesday, 29 May 2007

Garden Street car park — going multi-storey?

After having their plans for the Mill Pond, Linden Mill Bank and for houses over the River Hebden Water thrown out by Hebden Royd Council, Calderdale Council and most the local community, Studio Baad’s latest "project" is to make the Garden Street car park multi-storey.

Philip Bintliff of Studio Baad and David Fletcher have teamed up once again - this time not as 3045 Group but as Hebden Royd Development LLP - apparently nothing to do with Hebden Royd Council.

From HebWeb News: 2nd June 2007

Parking options: Garden Street or the Station

In considering the question of possible additional parking provision in Hebden Bridge, the Traffic Review considered two options: a multi-storey car park on the Garden Street site (which had its proponents, although interestingly the advice from the Council’s technical consultant was that it would not be technically or financially viable); and an extension of the surface car park at the Station…

June 13th, 2007

2nd "Watchdog" public meeting at the White Lion

David Jennings (a resident in The Crofts) distributed leaflets and said that Calderdale refused to answer queries about the plans and even refused to give reasons for refusing.

Jill Smith-Moorhouse said that the Council had already signed agreements with DF and Studio Baard. DF , who said that he hoped to be part of any newly formed group, argued that, while commercial information had to be protected, the information on HebWeb and on the leaflets was not accurate.

See report

14th June 2007

Letter from David Fletcher

to the Watchdog Group

As must have been evident to everyone at the meeting on Wednesday, I was very frustrated at what I felt was a very biased approach to discussion of the Garden Street project. Six or seven people stood to present quite inaccurate views about this project whilst I was not allowed an adequate opportunity to respond.

The Garden Street project is very complex and not easy to grasp in just an instant. The town needs additional central area car parking, a car park where people can be reasonably sure of always finding a vacant space, so they can head for it with a feeling of confidence. The traders in town need it to repair the loss of turnover which is now threatening many businesses (and as many as 6 or 700 jobs).

See letter

Discussion forum thread, June-July 2007 (57 messages)

Although David Fletcher has been saying at the public consultation meetings that there are 45 spaces at present in the Garden Street surface car park, there are in fact around 55. Since the developers are required to provide a minimum of 90 public spaces in their multi-storey car park they will therefore be making available an additional 35 public spaces, albeit at the cost of a huge commercial development (apparently around 6,000 sq m) and years of disruption.

(And let’s not forget that, with around 50 residential units in the development, and even allowing for just one car per household, that residential demand is likely to exceed the 30 private spaces the developer can provide, maybe reducing the actual availability of the 35 public spaces).

. . . . .

In 1972 councillor Fletcher who was chairman of the Planning and Development Commitee on Hebden Royd Council presented the community with a "modernisation" scheme

St George’s Square and much of the surrounding area was to be demolished and a new shopping precinct with flats, restaurant and car park would be built in concrete to replace it.

Councillor Fletcher supported this scheme.

25th July 2007

Watchdog Group to become Calder Civic Trust

See report

From HebWeb News, Tuesday, 29 January 2008


"A very, significant threat to the social and economic life of the town"

There was standing room only in the packed council chambers and all except one person had come to oppose the plan. The one person was the developer David Fletcher…

Discussion Forum Thread 2008 (1) - Jan-March 2008
(102 messages)

This is not a car park plan. Currently there are 55 spaces. After development there will be 136. But residents will need spaces; 48 homes will have, say, 1.3 cars each. Allowing one car for each of the offices and one for each of the retail units (at a very modest estimate) takes up 76 spaces giving 5 additional spaces, at best. This development by Messrs Fletcher and Bintliff has little to do with solving the car parking problem.

There is no shortage of shops in Hebden. Local shops catering for residents appear to struggle against the pressure from supermarkets. Three recent casualties are Lord-Dales, the White Lion chippie and the photographers. We don’t need more twee little shoppes.

. . . . .

I don’t think this is good design. Looks a bit like a mis-shapen loaf of bread or a jelly that’s gone wrong. I hate the way it looms and sags over Commercial Street, incidentally nicking that nice bit of grass verge. I’m told it is meant to combine tradition with modernity. What that seems to mean is that you can bung any rubbish building up, put a bit of stone facing on it as a sop to the traditionalists, and hope to get away with it.

And no - it does nothing at all to alleviate car parking in town. In fact with new shops and residences planned, it will probably have a negative effect.

From The Times, April 11, 2008

From The Times

Hebden Bridge fights the developers

There’s trouble in the Yorkshire mill town as local oppose a radical new plan.

Hebden Bridge is West Yorkshire’s answer to Stoke Newington in London. Artists, writers and performers colonised it when the woollen mills closed in the 1970s, drawn to its rural peace and handsome stone buildings…

“The design is inspired by local buildings and styles in terms of materials, shapes and sizes,” says Philip Bintliff, an architect at the company. “Height, scale and the choice of weathered stone materials are important to ensure that the buildings fit in, rather than jar as some recent buildings in the town do. Our ambition is to insert these new buildings to appear to the casual viewer as though they have always been there but, on closer inspection, are clearly of their time.”

Discussion Forum Thread 2008 (2) - April May 2008
(25 messages)

How else could the parking problem be solved and paid for? The council could have defined that Garden Street was only a car park, but no developer would have been interested in building a car park. The additions to the scheme pay for the car park, again at no cost to the tax payer, and we get new shops and homes thrown into the mix too.This isn’t the largest redevelopment the town has ever seen. The decline of the textile industry caused the largest redevelopment. Hebden had to evolve and redevelop into the home of tourist friendly independent retail outlets we see today. These proposals are a continuation of that evolution.

From HebWeb News, Saturday, 19 April 2008

GARDEN STREET: 10 Questions for the Calderdale Chief Executive

Anthony Rae, spokesperson for the Action Group, told the Hebden Bridge Web, "It really is time that the Council faced up to the many inconsistencies and contradictions within this scheme, and answered some fairly basic questions such as will there really be any significant parking provision at all, which in any case could be provided much easier and quicker elsewhere in the town?

"We have tried repeatedly to get answers to many concerns about the appropriateness of this huge development from other officers of the Council. Now it is time for the Chief Executive to explain to the Hebden Bridge community why the Council, which originally promoted the scheme and on its own site, can justify proceeding with it. It can’t dodge its responsibilities any longer."

From HebWeb News, Friday, 4 July 2008

New Plans for Garden Street

The newly proposed scheme will include 160 car parking spaces, a hidden car stacker system — an automatic multi storey car park which reduces the time taken for the driver to park, 48 residential properties of which 10 per cent will accommodate affordable housing, eight small retail units and eight starter enterprise units for small local businesses. Two-thirds of the site to be retained as landscaped pedestrian open space.


From HebWeb News, Friday, 4 July 2008

The idea behind the Garden Street project is to create a large “Destination Car Park” where the public can be reasonable sure to find a space. Centrally located so that they can “Park + Walk”. Access is immediately from the A646 without the need to drive through the town. Therefore it may actually reduce traffic movements and pollution compared to the present situation where people drive round and round looking for a space.”

Discussion Forum Thread - July 2008
(32 messages)

I’ve been keeping my eye on this debate, and must say I thought it was just the Hebden moan-about-anything brigade objecting just for the sake of it until… I saw the proposals! What an absolutely hideous monstrosity it is! I’m all for the site being developed - be that housing, commercial, car-parking or whatever combination of the above - but must it look so ugly?! It has all the appeal of a sci-fi distopian future. Who could seriously look at the past/present/future illustrations and think that this is harmonious with the surroundings?

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

754 representations have been received by Calderdale Council in respect of the plans.

From HebWeb News, Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Garden Street Developers announce further exhibition

Hebden Royd Development LLP has announced a further exhibition of the £10 million Garden Street development, back by popular demand, after revealing that nearly 1,200 visitors attended the first event at the beginning of July.

From HebWeb - Thursday, 31st July 2008

Hebden Royd Town Council unanimously rejected the plans at their meeting on Wednesday, 30th July

Gathering signatures in George’s Square

Friday, 1 August 2008

Send your support to the Garden Street Action Group.

Sunday, 17 August 2008

See websites for

proposers: www.gardenstreet.co.uk

opposition: www.notogardenstreet.org.uk

The Parking Wizard’s sorcery created extra parking spaces - just like that! See details, more photos and video. - 24 Aug


Tuesday, 2nd September

Riverside School, Holme Street, Hebden Bridge at 7.30 pm
(Plans available for inspection from 6.30pm)


Adrian Rose, Calderdale Council’s Regeneration officer, to explain the Development Brief

Andy Edwards, Calderdale Council’s Acting Chief Planning Officer, to clarify the planning process

David Fletcher, on behalf of the Developers, to clarify the planning application

Anthony Rae, on behalf of the objectors, to summarise the objectors’ concerns

Chair: Cllr Nader Fekri (Calderdale MBC)

All welcome!

For more information:
Cllr Janet Battye tel: 01706 815292

HebWeb News: Report of public meeting of 2nd September at Riverside School - over 250 people attended the lively meeting

See also: some YouTube videos of the event


25th September 2008

A special meeting of Calderdale Council’s Planning Committee is being held at 6pm on Monday, September 29th, at the Kings Centre, Park Road, Halifax. (See Google map)

It will follow the same format of all Council planning meetings and will be open to the press and the public.

At the meeting the item will be outlined by the planning officer before members of the committee ask questions. A ward or parish councillor and a representative of the objectors can then speak. Only the Chair has the authority to decide whether more than one representative from the objectors should be able to speak to enable further points to be raised. Members of the committee can then ask the applicant questions before debating the application. The matter is then put to the vote and a decision is taken on whether to approve the application refuse it or defer it to obtain further information.

The Keighley Road at Commercial Street with artist’s drawing of the Garden Street development - click photo to enlarge - 25th Sept

“The Battle of Hebden Bridge”

- article in Independent on Sunday - 28th Sept

Development plans thrown out!

Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Over 300 people travelled to the King’s Centre in Halifax on a rainy Monday evening and listened for 3 hours while the Garden Street development was debated. The Planning Committee threw out the plans by a vote of five to two.

Crowded hall at development meeting

Above: part of the crowded hall

The King’s Centre was hired by the council to accommodate the crowds they knew would be attending. But every seat was taken with dozens having to stand.

Read full report

Garden Street Car Park to get short stay parking

The Calderdale Council Cabinet will be told on Monday, October 27 that a number of plans are being put in place to reduce the projected deficit of £742,000 for this financial year. As a result officers are proposing an increase in parking charges for the first time in two years, and the implementation of two previously agreed proposals for short stay parking in Garden Street, Hebden Bridge. 17 Oct


Tuesday, 23 December 2008

David Fletcher and Hebden Royd Development Company have submitted appeals to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. There wil be a Public Inquiry at the Town Hall in Halifax.

The public may attend the inquiry and give their views. Alternatively, they can submit their views in writing. Three copies should be sent, referring to applications 07/01409 and 07/01410, to

(FOA: Sheila Parkin)
The Planning Inspectorate
Room 3/18a
Temple Quay House,
2 The Square
Temple Quay
Bristol BS16PN

Written representations need to be submitted by 28th January


A document leaked to the Hebden Bridge Web shows information previously not available to the public, including the facts that the Council would have sold Garden Street to David Fletcher for £1, they hoped subsequently to receive up to £400,000 from the development project, and much more.

See news item and document - 11 Jan


David Fletcher’s response

Garden Street planning appeal

Tuesday 28th April 2009, for three days
10 am

Garden Street Public Inquiry starts Tuesday 28th April: read the evidence submitted by the developer, the Council (now objecting) and the Action Group on the No to Garden Street website. If you want to attend the Inquiry or prepare and submit a personal statement, download the Action Group’s advice note here.

The Kings Centre
Park Road

Garden Street planning appeal

Monday, 4 May 2009

All of the evidence has been heard and cross-examined in the three and a half days to Friday lunchtime (it’s over-running a bit because of the thoroughness of the process); the site visit will now be next Thursday and ‘Final Submissions’ - when each of the parties including the Action Group get to make their concluding statements - at the Kings Centre Friday 10am. Lots of members of the public made personal statements of objection on Thursday afternoon, including 3 Calderdale councillors, and just one supporter. Anthony Rae for the Action Group said: "So far I think the arguments made by the Council and ourselves have been effective. We’ll give a fuller account after the Inquiry closes".

Update: Thursday, 28 May 2009

The Inspector has turned down the application in record time because … it’s too large!

" … Block A would rise above and visually dominate its neighbour. As such it would be an unacceptably intrusive feature within the street scene"; and " … arising from their overall size and scale, Blocks D and E would be at odds with this pleasing scale and massing; they would visually dominate and be unacceptably harmful to the character and ambience of the locale."

But the Inspector did not reject the scheme either on parking or local amenity grounds.

Anthony Rae said:

It’s the decision we expected, because in truth the developers did not put up a good case at the Inquiry. This must now be the end of a damaging episode in the history of the town, which came out simply because a couple of individuals made almost every conceivable mistake when hatching the earliest stages of this ill-thought out scheme. Fortunately for Hebden Bridge, when their proposals were finally put before, first the independent tribunal of the Planning Committee, and now an independent Inspector, they were found wanting, and so a great risk to the town has been averted.

Calderdale Council must now withdraw this development opportunity on their own site, and cancel the legal agreement they signed with the developer. Until they do this, dangers will still remain. As we’ve said before: they got us into this mess, now they must get us out of it with one final, decisive, action.

We can thank all the members of the Garden Street Action Group, and our many supporters, for having contributed to this successful outcome.

Download planning tribunal decision letter

Saturday, 10 July 2010

The No to Garden Street Website reports that the development agreement with the Council is definitely cancelled. More info

See also

No to Garden Street
Campaign website

The Garden Street Development
The developers’ website

HebWeb News
Development plans thrown out! September 2008

HebWeb News
Garden Street revised plans, July 2008

HebWeb Forum thread - from July 2008

HebWeb News
10 Questions for the Calderdale Chief Executive

HebWeb News
Garden Street public meeting, January 2008

HebWeb Forum thread - from January 2008

HebWeb Forum thread (2007) (50-60 messages)

HebWeb News (June 2007)
Parking options: Garden Street or the Station

Planning Watch

HebWeb coverage of Studio Baad

Search HebWeb

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