As a supporter of the Garden Street Proposals, and having followed this tread for some time, I would like to give my opinion/ reaction to the 10 ‘Questions’ (actually it was 11 but we should over look that small fact)
Question 1: How many genuinely additional car parking spaces – more than the existing provision – will be provided by this development?
The proposals are for 136 car parking spaces. There are currently 55. Thats an increase of 81 This is a Town Centre Development so there is no need to provide any parking spaces to the residents of the new homes.
Question 2: If the Council wants to provide more car parking provision in Hebden Bridge, why don't you choose the quickest, cheapest, easiest, and better located way to do this instead?
If the council are selling this land to the developer, and the developers are providing 136 carparking spaces, this means it will not cost the Council, or tax payer, anything. Infact the Council will make profit, never mind cheapest.
Question 3: Why is the Council trying to encourage more cars to come to Hebden Bridge?
The Council are not asking people to come to see the new development in their cars. The proposals simply offer a place for them to park. This is a heavily loaded question, trying to relate the air quality of Hebden Bridge to parked cars. Perhaps some of the cars parked on Market Street each day could park in the proposed Garden Street, and help keep traffic moving through the town and improve the air quality.
Question 4: Is the scale of this development appropriate in a small town like Hebden Bridge?
Nutclough Mill, Melbourne Street, Brunswick Street, The works on Bond Street.... these are just a few examples of 5-6 storey buildings around Hebden. The recently converted Croft Mill is at least 5 and thats on the same site. I suggest it is very appropriate.
Question 5: Why has the Council allowed the scheme to be transformed from car parking-led to the largest comprehensive redevelopment scheme the town has ever seen?
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.
Question 6: Has the Council made an assessment of the economic disruption and damage that this development, which it is promoting, could cause to Hebden Bridge and its businesses?
Have the Protesters considered the economic consequences their very public opposition is having on the reputation of the town? Friends from outside of hebden tell me they think im mad for living here, that it’s an aggressive place to be if you don’t share the opinion of a certain few ‘Leaders’. They stay away. I welcome the Councils promotion of this scheme, and hope that in the future my friends will see the beautiful Garden Street buildings and think see Hebden as an embracing community, not reactionary.
Question 7: Has the Council considered the risks to the town associated with this development?
What risks? Just as in any small development the developers are taking the risks. They would borrow the money to build it, and should anything happen, the banks would inherit the scheme, finish building it and sell it off to recoup their money.
Question 8: Will you address the many failures in the Council's process related to this development?
This is again a heavily loaded question, and designed to apportion blame and influence future decisions.
Question 9: Will you reveal the non-commercially confidential parts of the secret development agreement which the Council has signed with the applicant?
This is yet another heavily loaded question, and suggests the integrity of the Calderdale planners should be questioned. This question suggests that the planners are not going to make a decision based on the proposals, but based on some ‘secret agreement’. Very dangerous allegations.
Question 10: Does the community in Hebden Bridge want this development, and does the town need it?
The proposed development is highly unpopular with thousands of people apparently. I wonder how many of those people have seen the images? The people i have spoken with about Garden street believe all the negative propaganda. This is not a 7 storey multi storey car park as some people believe. When I have shown images from Calderdale’s website, these people have been surprised at the quality of the proposals, and surprised its not a 7 storey concrete multi storey carpark.
A final question: why on earth is the Council promoting this development opportunity at all?
Why isn’t the council promoting more innovative schemes like this?Back to main thread
10 Questions for the Calderdale Chief Executive
Hebweb Forum thread - Jan-Feb 2008 (50-60 messages, many extremely well informed and articulated)
Courier letter 10th March 2008
Courier, 16th Jan 2008
Hebweb Forum thread - 2007 (50-60 messages)
Hebweb News (June 2007) - Parking options: Garden Street or the Station