While I think the fustian knife is maybe a bit silly it isn't exactly making a huge difference to life in Hebden Bridge generally is it?
Whereas the proposed Garden St development will have an extemely dramatic impact on the life of everyone in the town and Calderdale are still intent on pushing it through in spite of widespread public opposition.
Go and view the plans at Wragley House, Valley Road and see for yourself. In fact, in comparison to this even the old proposal for the Mayroyd development which was thrown out in the House of Lords a few years ago pales into insignificance.
I just think maybe we need to get our priorities right and not dissipate all our collective radical energy on relatively unimportant issues. It would be ironic if this monstrous plan were to go through because everyone is so used to people just opposing everything in Hebden that no one took very much notice.
From Mike Pearson
It appears you may not have noticed, but over 80% of the readers of the HB Times website have voted in favour of the original scheme. If this revised scheme is an improvement which address the concerns of less than 20% of those readers, then you're views are shared by a diminishing minority.
From Janice S
I understand that there is a also a model of the proposed development, which should make it easier to visualise the effect and scale of the buildings.
Well, I've just looked at the HB Times website, and the wording of the survey is "Do you approve of the Garden Street development?", with currently 81% saying Yes and 19% No. I assume anyone, anywhere in the world can vote, and there is no information as to the total number of voters.
It will be interesting to see if this result is reflected in the letters to the Planning Committee.
I haven't seen the revised plan, but I'm willing to try to look at it objectively. Perhaps the works won't cause years of disruption and will result in a worthwhile increase in parking provision. Let's go and see...
From Jan Scott
I use the internet every day, and read the Bridge Times every week. I can't say I ever have any cause to go to their website. I was certainly unaware that there was a survey there. Is this a regular occurrence? Clearly I need to keep an eye on the site! As regards the results of the survey, I'd be more impressed by the quoted 80% if I knew how many people responded - it could have been just 5; equally of course, it could have been 500 or 5000. It makes a big difference!
From Andrew Hall
Mike, don't delude yourself that the HB Times vote is representative. It's a very shaky system, and anyone can vote as many times as they like by voting then pressing the back button and voting again.
From Paul S
The first thought that comes to mind on having seen the Courier is why we need visitors that state the obvious - why does it take a visitor from Great Preston in Leeds to decide that building enormous ugly buildings that can be seen for miles around (have a look at a full A4 picture of the 'vision' ) and lose all sight of the views that have been photographed and used by Alice Longstaff et al for years - some modern earthquake affected Dubai type building stuck in the middle of Hebden Bridge - quaint and quirky?
Wait - can anyone in our town see this in Haworth. Perhaps with all the problems one has in trying to park in Haworth Studio Baad should propose the scheme there - would that work ? No because the local developers wouldn't stand to profit. (Haworth want visitors in their town to appreciate the heritage and history and have therefore built car parks out of town which you walk to the village through lovely leafy paths - surely tourists wouldn't mind the walk along our developed canal tow paths and leafy wooded paths)(I may also have to point out how many more cars and exhaust fumes there will be in the centre of Hebden Bridge increasing the already high carbon monoxide levels that have been monitored if there is space for 160 more cars!!!). How about building this monstrosity once every new apartment and building in Hebden Bridge is lived in by a young adult in need of a home? (especially now no-one can even get a mortgage - see national news!)
Come on Hebden. See if you can find the voting system on the HB Times Website and vote against this development and let's see the true figures - now we all know about it - think about how annoyed we all get once the changes have been implemented and put in place i.e. the fustian knife, the clock on the wall where Edmondsons used to be, the parking and road system etc etc etc etc. Act now rather than bemoan the ugly crooked buildings once they are half built!
From Jan Scott
Found it! The survey is on the same page as the article about the consulatation. Follow the link from www.hebdenbridgetimes.co.uk if you want to follow this avenue. Meanwhile, I hope Calderdale is able to extend the consultation period so that everyone has the opportunity to see the new plans for themselves.
Whilst admittedly I have not yet visited the Wragley exhibition to view the model, I have followed this discussion, have read the HB Times and Courier reports, and have now received a brochure prepared by representatives of those wishing to develop the Garden Street site.
My opinion - for what it is worth - is that this development is going to be a huge blot on the landscape. How anyone can indicate that it will blend in is quite frankly deluded.
Whether or not it addresses the car parking problem - and there seem to be differing opinions as to how many extra parking places there will be - surely this has to be one of the ugliest developments around, and totally unsuitable for Hebden Bridge.
From Julie C
Well written Paul - having seen our town gradually reinvent itself over the last 36 years from a deprived place, with closed shops, dilapidated soot encrusted homes and burnt out mills to a thriving busy place I don't want to see it wrecked by this development.
I overheard a resident saying 'something' had to be done with the site - no - its a car park - the retaining wall is sound - the cars are tucked away out of sight leave it alone.
Given the present state of the economy, cost of petrol, climate change, housing market, housebuilders going bust, and credit crunch why does anyone think that they can still get banks to invest £10 million pounds on this plan? If any version is imposed on our community, it will get started, run out of cash, and we'll be left with a half finished building site and no extra parking.
Just look back at the very first plans for the old dye works on the canal. That involved mad parking schemes on the canal bank ..... none of the grandiose plans materialised, the work went on for years, many of the flats are still empty, and I believe the council gave up some public parking on Bridge Lanes to become residents' parking.
Remember developers don't contribute financially towards increased pressure on the town's total infrastructure. Providing 55 new public parking places is not a good enough positive balance in this equation, imaginative ways to use cars less is a better idea. (Parking maths: 160 places - 55 existing public places = 105 - 50 for new residents and yearly paid parking contracts = 55 new places.)
From Martin G
If the Council is going to 'rectify the matter' of the consultation exercise, i.e. have another consultation after a reasonable period of notice, then surely the clock of 21 days for objections should only start ticking once the consultation exercise has finished.
The notices are already up, meaning the present deadline for objections is the 25th.
I suggest everyone rings the case officer Roger Lee (01422 392241)on Monday to raise this point. He's on holiday until then.
From Graham Barker
The entire justification for Garden Street seems to be the claim of local businesses that without more central parking for their customers, their trade will suffer.
Can they actually prove this?
If they’re right, how come shoppers visiting Meadowhall, Trafford Park, the White Rose Centre etc are quite happy to use vast car parks that may require them to walk several hundred yards to the nearest entrance, then tramp perhaps for miles round the shops themselves, lugging all their purchases with them? And what do people buy in Hebden Bridge that is so bulky that they need more convenient parking than you’d get (unless you were very lucky) in the centre of Leeds or Manchester?
Secondly, what traders really want is presumably not more parking but more business. How many of them have considered adjusting their opening hours to make this a possibility? I rarely overhear people complaining about parking but I regularly hear grumbles about this or that shop or business not being open until 10 am or later. And of course they’re nearly all shut again by tea-time. It may be ‘quaint’ and it’s a shop owner’s privilege to decide when to open and close, but if customers then go missing, this may be nothing to do with car parking. It may be more to do with businesses being shut in Hebden Bridge when they’re open elsewhere.
Since the introduction of parking charges, I’ve found it easier to park in town. So have others. This ought to benefit traders, but they don’t seem to see it that way. I wonder what some of them will say if they get the new Garden Street car park and their trade still doesn’t improve? Who or what will they blame then?
All, I bought the HB times last night and inside was a flyer for the new development. The worrying thing is that there is a pre-paid response form for the public to make comments - addressed to the developer's office in Leeds!
The only comments that the planning office will take into account are those sent directly to them in Calderdale.
I believe they are trying to pull a fast one over people by letting them feel they have complained about the development when they actually have not.
Of course, I could be wrong about this but something stinks!
Please register your comments directly with the council
I found out about the HB Times vote regarding the Garden Street development from Mike Pearson’s earlier communication, and have now been on their website to register my vote. It is interesting to note that the 80% yes/20% no vote he mentioned is presently standing at 58% yes/42% no.
I would urge all who are able - whether for or against this development - to go to the HB Times website to register your vote.
In addition I would like to thank Ben C for his comments - I also received the brochure via the HB Times, and was very dubious about the merits of sending the reply form to Leeds.
I think the HB Times vote is a red herring. The developer could manipulate the vote and so could we. I've already voted several times. If it won't let you vote again just remove the HB Times cookie. In Firefox, go to preferences, then to privacy and show cookies. Removing all cookies or one is easy. You are now able to vote again. I am only explaining this so that people can see how meaningless this online vote is.
Let's ignore it and work out how to stop this development.
The HB Times 'vote' is obviously to be ignored (I have voted more than once, too). What interests me is whose idea was it to include such a 'mechanism' into the newspaper and masquerade it as a real test of opinions, especially after the petitions carried out and the overwhelming 'no' vote by contributors to this forum.
Who is/are he/she/they trying to kid?
(A la Private Eye) "I think we should be told"
From Anthony Rae
I think I should make a few comments on behalf of the Garden Street Action Group as to where we are at the moment:
When we received via the Courier the announcement on Wednesday that a consultation exercise would begin the next day and close on Saturday (yesterday) we immediately wrote to the Director of Regeneration at Calderdale Council Ian Thompson to complain about the utter inadequacy of just the short notice and duration. On Thursday, before I left for London, I received a phone call from Mr Thompson acknowledging that the exercise had been really 'messed up', apologising for this, and saying that he would wish to rectify this shortly. I thanked him for this, and now we wait.
But good community consultation is not just about adequate notice; it involves so much more – as Lindsay Smales has previously reminded us – and we have already received comments about other aspects of the exercise that are flawed; and some are recorded in this discussion thread. That's why we will only participate as a Group in a consultation exercise that is genuine, fair – and competently organised.
And, yes, the consultation questions are loaded (and even inaccurate, because they talk of '110 additional parking spaces for public use'.) No doubt a few more misleading statements will emerge, on checking.
On arrival back in Hebden late on Saturday night, and presumably after the exhibition had closed, I looked at the planning application documents which you will find here; and in particular downloaded the 'before' and 'after' visualisations (which you can see here): what would be seen from various viewpoints if the development is implemented.
What strikes me initially – if you look at visualisations C, D, E, I and L (and I suspect the same will be true for J, which is missing), and to a lesser extent A, B and G – is the 'visual brutality' of the proposed architectural insertions. (And look also at Garden St and Commercial St elevations for an indication of scale and style; and the floor plans to judge the over-intensification of the site).
I use that term advisedly, because some people may well argue, and have, that what the town needs is a jolly good dose of 'brutal modernism'. That's an aesthetic judgment that individuals will make one way or the other. Personally, I think these buildings might work well and make a positive architecture contribution if located in London, Manchester or Leeds. The issue for us though is whether buildings of such size and design fit into this location: the small scale of the Hebden Bridge Conservation Area?
Except, finally, that isn't really the issue, which ought to be: why are we contemplating all this development for just a few additional parking spaces? The number of public spaces in the 2 basement levels has now been increased to either 96 or 101 – and we'll have to evaluate this sort of detail carefully - but still: all this development, disruption and risk just for 30/35 more public parking spaces which we could find elsewhere tomorrow and provide in the next few months? The basic rationale for the scheme is still completely flawed.
If the aim of the visualisations is to convince us how pleasing the new views on the eye would be, I think it’s shot themselves in the foot time.
For me the most horrific views of the future are C, E and L, E looking like a couple of concrete Nissen huts with an industrial waste-pipe in the middle.
It’s interesting that there is no future J view. Is it, perhaps, even more hideous than the above three? (I think we should be shown)
It is noticeable that, as last time, the visualisations on the planning website of the Garden Street development do not clearly indicate what will be happening to the Tanpits site and therefore there is no real indication of how the building will affect Crossley Terrace which is directly behind.
The only image I have of what will apparently be happening directly in front of our windows is a tiny and very unclear photo I took with my mobile phone of the visualisation in the exhibition (but not on the website).
When I spoke to David Fletcher at the "consultation" he said that the buildings on the site (which look like windowless giant sloping breeze blocks- apparently "enterprise units") would not be any taller than my garden. However when you look at visualisation picture 'I' (showing just the corner of Tanpits from one side and not the whole site) the building on the corner of Tanpits carpark would clearly dwarf the whole of Crossley Terrace - only the roof of number 3 visible.
Since our gardens are not three storeys high either the statement seems to be incorrect or the two depictions of these buildings are completely out of scale with each other. I would like to see a visualisation which shows clearly what Tanpits carpark will look like from a vantage point standing in front of Crossley Terrace so that we can see what the real effect of this building will be. I also have an access route to my house directly from Tanpits and I should like to see what will be happening around this.
I will already have the whole of my other garden totally walled in by a seven storey block and the pathway encircling this garden used as some kind of access route to this surreal electronic nightmare (or "carpark") so I am quite concerned about this.
I've previously been a supporter of more 'modernist' architecture for the town - and still am - but apart from the optimistic sunlit B picture I can't say I like these designs. What would it all look like on typical winters day - very depressing I imagine.
From Janice S
The Garden Street plans remind me of an old project development cartoon. What we actually wanted was more car parking. What we're offered is a huge development likely to cause more problems than it solves - disruption to HB, air pollution from traffic movements, more empty apartments, etc.
It's the wrong time and the wrong place for a development on this scale. If it was 100% affordable housing (probably not economical on this site) I'd support it
From Howard M
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?
From Pedro de Wit
I've been reading the discussion on the forum and had a good look at the plans last weekend. I am not against modern architecture and prefer it over the 'retro look' victorian buildings that are going up everywhere these days. We have to look at our current world for inspiration and not at the past.
That said I agree with the majority of the contributions on the forum. This development looks completely out of place in Hebden Bridge and I dread to think what the buildings will look in 20 years time. (Have a look at the Bradford & Bingley headquarters in Bingley! That eyesore was once state of the art).
I can't see that the new development will make it easier to park in Hebden Bridge. Who wants to put his/her car in a car stacker if you just want to go to the shops for half an hour (if we have another power outage your car might be stuck underground for hours!).
Surely the only sensible way to provide carparking is to use the space that is available on the edge of the town. Unfortunately the chance of that happening is small as these sites get snapped up by developers for more houses/apartments. Therefore I can't offer a solution but maximising the use of the current Garden Street space is definitely better than dumping all this concrete in the center of Hebden Bridge. If the petrol prices keep going up we won't need more carparking anyway!
"Who could seriously look at the past/present/future illustrations and think that this is harmonious with the surroundings?"
David Fletcher! But then presumably he stands to make a huge amount of dosh out of this!!! Anyone seen DF's letter in the HB Times this week?
As in the ABBA song - "Money Money Money"
From Joseph S
I objected last time because the diagrams were unclear and we could not see what it was all about.
Now that we can see what it is like I want to object on the grounds of its size, and inappropriateness as a solution to the parking problem. I'm aware however that only certain objections carry weight in the planning process. Could someone with more experience post what the valid objections might be?
From Andrew Hall
Joseph, Calderdale's own website gives details of what is and importantly isn't taken into account when determining planning applications.
In response to Joseph's request for information about what valid objections might be, the Garden Street Action Group will be providing a properly thought-out set of objections, and also an opportunity for the public to sign objection forms. The grounds for objection will be made available on this site.
But we are not going to 'rush to judgment' on such a critically important scheme as this. And the Director of Regeneration Ian Thompson personally gave me an undertaking that the Council will rectify the failure to start the consultation process adequately last week. He said we would be contacted this week, but that has not happened. To me this is just the latest episode in a very long series of mishaps and process failures.
We very much hope that the intention of our ward councillors to arrange a public meeting (possibly on Tuesday 22nd July) will materialise, and we have also heard that the scheduled date for Hebden Royd Town Council to consider the application will now not occur this coming Wednesday but instead on the 30th July.
But there are a whole series of issues about ensuring that the Hebden Bridge community have an adequate consultation process, and then that the real questions about the development are both asked and answered before the planning application comes to be considered by Calderdale Council. A date of 16th September for this to occur has been mentioned.
I get confused about which traffic/parking survey gets referred to in the debates about Garden Street/Parking. Was it the one where the expensive consultants suggested parking on Calder Holmes? If decisions are still being made based on that flawed analysis no wonder we are in a mess.
I visited South Shields recently parking legitimately, off-peak, in an otherwise reserved carpark. How about, weekend parking behind the Health Centre building below Royd Terrace for example?
Has anyone looked at the council making use of the Fire Station site behind the Market? This would provide lots of parking places, and would be able to be developed at a later date if more shops/homes were needed.
Of course, as there is clearly no overall plan for our town, just piecemeal decisions, each one has to be struggled with - however, someone has a vision, I think it is "How can we best exploit this honeypot that is Hebden Bridge."
From Cllr Janet Battye
I was as surprised as anybody when the plans were unveiled a couple of weeks ago. As a local Councillor on Calderdale, I knew that the planners had asked for more information and was waiting to hear what was happening. I organised the meeting with them earlier this year after which Anthony Rae asked the 10 questions.
I'm concerned that in the first place, there is a good process and timescale for consultation on these amended plans. A public meeting seems like a good idea - the planners seem to be suggesting that this would be best done with the Developers present to answer any questions and I'm trying to get this organised if this is what people would like - and to make sure that it's within the consultation period. At the moment we're looking at Tuesday July 29th but that's not confirmed yet.
My concerns are first about whether the site should be built on - and it feels as though we haven't had a good chance to think about that. Then there's whether this is the right type of development - it's based on the idea of providing more public car parking spaces in the middle of HB. And then there's the scale of it. And finally the design. A lot to think about but this building will be there for a long time.
It seems likely that the decision (whether or not to give planning permission) will be taken by Planning Committee in September.
If there is only going to be a meeting on the 29th, surely the time limit for objections should either be extended for a further month (at present it is four days before the proposed meeting) or held in abeyance pending the rectification of the consultation process, as per Anthony's converstaion with Iam Thompson.
Can I suggest to people they email all their friends/contacts giving them the link to Planning Watch on the Hebweb - there are still lots of people who haven't realised we only have a few days to object and don't know how easy it is to do online via Calderdale's site. Don't forget even if you objected last time you need to do it again and remember there are 2 applications to object to - the whole project and the demolition of the wall.
Leaving to one side the merits of the design of the Garden Street development, or whether the town needs more residential apartments and retail units, Hebden Bridge does have a parking problem. Because I don’t get out enough, I’ve been googling ‘stack parking’. Stack parking is an ingenious, computer-controlled, hydraulic system which can park up to four cars into one conventional parking space. Brilliant!
The internet has manufacturers’ sites with videos showing how it takes only two and a half minutes for a car to be parked, or retrieved. Again brilliant! Yet other sites have articles from both local authorities and users of stack parking, complaining of the slowness of the system – not so brilliant. How can they both be right?
This apparent contradiction led me to the mountain of paperwork that is the planning application (I couldn’t access it for two days due to industrial action. I’m sure that these lost days will be added to the consultation period). Here I found more contradictions. There is a manufacturer’s spec within the application which confirms the two and a half minutes. The application, however, claims only two minutes. This is not a typographical error, as they later extend this to state that the system can move, “up to thirty cars per hour”. That’s six cars faster than the manufacturers spec! So why are users worldwide (check the internet) complaining about stack parking being slow?
Is this just nit-picking? Well not if you are third, fifth, possibly tenth in the queue, waiting to park or retrieve your vehicle, because the tenth driver could have to wait up to 40 minutes, or more, and during this period it is possible that other drivers may have joined the queue. The stack parking would be exclusively for contract parking (initially offered to the retail and enterprise units), and the new residents. If they’ve been beguiled by the high tech spec, and haven’t read the small print, maybe that’s just their problem.
If you haven’t already contacted Calderdale’s planning department about the proposed Garden Street development, you might like to google stack parking before you do. Try ‘wisegeek.com’ for a start. There are many others. I must get out more!
From Andrew Hall
In a letter in last week’s Hebden Bridge Times, David Fletcher makes fatuous reference to Sir Bernard Ingham and Barbara Green being united in their opposition to the Garden St development. Just how this advances his argument in favour of the ‘wonky buidings’ eludes me. Two people who are regularly opposed to each other’s viewpoints united in one common cause – in fact, does that not speak volumes about the breadth of opposition to the development?
From Colin Fisher
What an excellent post from Andrew Hall about recent letters and the advertisement about the Garden Street proposals. I echo every word that he says but won't repeat them here.
As a newcomer to Hebden Bridge I am concerned about the apparent aims of the proposers to muddy the waters between public and private interests. I first came across the name Hebden Royd Development Partnership at the Mythomroyd show in 2007, and as a interested visitor at that time I was very unclear what this organisation was and whether it was related to the Hebden Royd Partnership of which I had read elsewhere. Only later did I discover it was a purely commercial organisation and that some of the people involved were also the promoters of the horrific (in my view) plans to develop the Mill Pond and Linden Mill - the tales of which I have followed on the Hebweb.
This attempt at confusion seems to me to continue in the advertisement discussed by Mr Hall where the 'position of the proposers' is associated entirely with Calderdale councillors. The posiiton of the proposers it seems to me is to exploit Hebden Bridge to make money irrespective of the long-term interests of the town.
With less than four weeks to go before Calderdale Council determines the Garden Street planning application (16th Sept we understand) the Action Group is stepping up its campaign.
So far 625 letters have been signed just on the Action Group's stall in St George's Square in the last 3 weeks; and the total number received over both applications (Spring and now) is much higher. We'll be there for the next 2 Saturday's, so do come along to look at the plans and sign an objection if you want. We'll also provide a special 'retraction' table, where former objectors can sign a recantation if they wish!
And this Saturday (23rd August 10.30am) we will be joined by a very special 'Parking Wizard' on the occasion of the launch of the Action Group's special report: "Just like That!" - Making the parking problems of Hebden Bridge disappear! We'll be calling on his magical assistance to conjure a large number of additional parking spaces and opportunities out of thin air, and in the heart of the town centre – immediately and without any building works. Where can they be? All will be revealed!
The report and our detailed surveys of the town's parking capacity will be available online on the Action Group's new website www.notogardenstreet.org.uk where people can also:
And lots more!
From Jim Band
Are the Action Group going to distance themselves from the members who have vandalised and made death threats to supporters of the scheme?
Jim Band says: Are the Action Group going to distance themselves from 'the members' who have vandalised and made death threats to supporters of the scheme?
Two answers to this:
- Jim seems to know that it is 'members' of the Group who have undertaken these claimed or actual actions? Where is his evidence for this statement? If he knows who the perpetrators are - i.e so that he also knows they are 'members' of the Group - he should go straight to the Police.
- I think I am the Group spokesperson quoted in the Courier and Hebden Bridge Times saying this: "I am absolutely appalled to hear about these threats." The quotation continues 'I would make it very clear that members of the group are not involved in any of these incidents'. Obviously I can't repeat that 2nd sentence here (I didn't actually say those precise words to the journalist) because personally I don't know anything about these incidents, whether they have happened, or who was involved.
But I hope our views, and that of any responsible member of our community, are perfectly clear. Our website www.notogardenstreet.org.uk says this about supporters of the development: '... And a small minority (we have found) in the local community - whose views we respect.'
From Andrew Hall
Maths has never been my strongest subject, but can anyone confirm my figures here?
From Felicity Potter
I'm speechless at the sheer bad taste of the big "Not in My Name" ad in the Hebden Bridge Times, claiming to speak for the majority over the proposed commercial development in Garden Street. The phrase "Not in Our Name" was popularised by the US anti-war movement following 9/11, to oppose Bush's warmongering, and the full sentence is "Not in our name will you wage endless war". I personally first saw it used on a banner by the East London Bengali community following the London bombings, to dissociate themselves as Muslims from Islamist terrorism.
To imply that this foolhardy, unpopular and commercial development has some sort of moral high ground and that the huge number of ordinary people who oppose it are the equivalent of warmongers and terrorists is distasteful, insulting and hypocritical. I've heard a lot of people out and about expressing dismay about the Garden Street plans. I've not heard one person in favour.
From Jason Elliott
I was at the packed Riverside School assembly hall for the Garden Street public meeting last night and I have to say I was amazed by the breath of opposition to the scheme, both in people and in hard scientific issues. Thank you to Cllrs Fekri and Battye for organising it.
To be fair to David Fletcher, he did manage to answer most of the multitude of eloquently and respectfully presented objections. It's just that most his answers were either pretty flaky factually or downright condescending.
He started with a snidey dig at Anthony Rae and his assertion towards the end that if he had more influence and power he "wouldn't have to bother with all of this nonsense" [the majority of Hebden Bridge objecting] was pretty revealing.
What caught my attention however, was that twice I thought he could be preparing for a tactical withdrawal, if not acceptance of defeat, when he referred to the amount of money he had spent on the project thus far and that "if you give me back my money we'll go away".
I'm sure it is a lot of money too. It should be noted that the questionnaires distributed through the HBT the other week were not to be returned to the "developer's office" in Leeds; they were actually heading to the spin doctors at a company called Brahm, who, with a £25 million annual turnover are one of the largest independent marketing agencies in the country. This doesn't come cheap, but I guess when the vast majority of the town don't want what you're proposing, you really do need the slickest, most cunning sales people around.
From Ben Plumpton
On the HB Times website they are currently (today only?) having a 'vote' on "Do you approve of the Garden Street development?" The vote so far is 60% for and 40% against. See
I suspect not many people have voted yet, so I would encourage HebWeb readers to go to that site and give their opinion.
See previous discussion of this, earlier in this thread - ed
From Andy Preston
As a regular longer term user of Garden Street car park, I am concerned by the proposals of the action group to reduce the length of stay permitted in that and other car parks.
Exactly where are myself and the many others who work in or visit Hebden Bridge for more than 6 hours supposed to park when this policy is foisted upon us by an action group opposed to the Garden Street development?
Perhaps the Parking Wizard has another trick up his sleeve to make the cars themselves disappear? It is suggested that people like myself can find our car parking needs met elsewhere, but I can see no mention of where.
From Janice S
Andy, para 28 of the Action Group's report on parking covers long stay parking:
"...there would need to be sufficient long stay parking spaces for a smaller number of cars within relatively easy walking distance of this part of town. And fortunately, there are not one but two such locations: the Town Council’s long stay car park in Station Road (39 spaces; charge – understood to be £2/day), which is in fact the key to unlocking all the parking opportunities in the town; and then a reassigned Tan Pit Yards, already zoned and used for car parking, which both the Action Group and the developers agree can provide 12 spaces – in total therefore over 50 long stay spaces..."
From Andy Preston
Sorry Janice but I don't understand. Both of the car parks you quoted are full to capacity every day, especially Station Road. Myself, and many others, would have to arrive for work about 2 hours earlier than normal to even stand a chance of using either. Are you sure this is magic and not sleight of hand that the parking wizard has performed?
Not a full length reply because I am having some problems with my computer, but the answer is as Janice has quoted from the report, which you can download here If you have any further questions after scrutinising the report please post them and I will answer; as I will be those raised by Claudette Roberts and Sir Bernard in next week's HBT.
But I'll make two general points:
- the idea of making Garden Street short stay is common ground between the Council, the Parking Wizard and (belatedly) the developers - who have consequently contradicted the planning application they put in only 9 weeks ago on this point. But only the Parking Wizard has dealt with both the short and long stay issues, and consistently. Both categories benefit from our proposals, in terms of number of spaces and price; but note also they are dependent on the previous decision by others - the Town Council and Calderdale - to provide the Station Road car park, which is the key to unlocking the issue.
- the Action Group knew our report would be subject to scrutiny (and rightly so). Therefore we made sure it's a credible piece of work. You will have noticed that thus far the developers (who have Giffords as their transport consultants available to them) haven't published a refutation - which would be rather difficult since all we did is rework their own figures; and the comments I have received informally from the Council have not pointed to any errors. So you may draw your own conclusions.
Update: Andy - our postings crossed.
You are confusing two different car parks with similar names. You are referring to what is called the Station car park - the one at the station itself - which is owned by the rail operators and filled by communters to overflowing point every weekday as you say. We have been campaigning separately for this to be expanded for the last 3 years - there is an opportunity for up to an additional 125 spaces - but Metro have failed miserably to deliver. See paragraph 33 of the report for a passing reference; and also the paper on improved sustainable transport approved by the Town Council on 13th August.
The Station Road car park on the other hand is the one we are talking about here; it's the one next to the British Gas site before the bridge. As para.18 states: this 'already has planning permission and funding but has been held up by a minor legal matter with Network Rail' - they're negotiating over a 'ransom strip' apparently, and if remonstrated with I expect they will oblige.
This car park will be charged as the quote from Janice pointed out, and therefore will not be filled up by rail commuters who are parking for free. The charge - I understand £2 a day is contemplated - will be less than a 7 hours or longer stay in Garden St.
Tan Pit Yards is another car park not being used efficiently, because it's not charged for hourly or daily use. Our proposal is to make it available for long stay use in the heart of the town, and maybe for traders requiring operational parking.
The total number of long stay spaces thus being made available is twice that displaced from Garden Street. And this approach to dealing with car parking issues in the town - by careful and incremental adjustment to all the range of mechanisms available (see para.8 Q3) - is that already implemented by Calderdale in the Traffic Review, but not completed.
What we are proposing effectively is Stage 2 of that work and finishes it off.
From Andy Preston
Sorry Anthony, yet again I fail to understand this Parking wizardry and the report. On HebWeb today we see news of the new car park at Station Road providing 29 new spaces.
However, the credible piece of work that forms the action groups report claims that 39 new spaces will be created here. That is a deficit of 10 spaces or roughly 25%. And with regard to Tanpits, as I passed today it looked unlikely to accommodate any more than 6 vehicles at most without considerable work to make it usable for any more. So rather than 50 spaces, realistically only 35 will be achieved, and there is obviously no revised report to explain how this will impact on current long-stay users of Garden Street. 39 spaces to 29 spaces, just like that!
From Kathy A
Both myself and my husband attended the recent Garden Street Public Meeting and were absolutely appalled at Mr Fletcher's disregard for the intelligence and common sense of the attendees - I think understands the term "conservation" (found another one see below). As the "voice" of the developer he did nothing to alleviate concern. I understand this is the same Mr Fletcher who several years ago was all for demolition around the Square to enable some other "development" to be undertaken?
Does anyone feel that the tales of intimidation are a bit of "spin" aimed at generating sympathy for this project - the Council will be more likely to pass this as a means of stating they "will not be held to ransom" if this continues.
Hebden Bridge is just getting back to normal after the months (and longer) of pedestrianisation, traffic measures etc. and it is fantastic to see people enjoying what the town already has.
If this was being proposed in other Dales villages they would not get past first base - Hebden Bridge will suffer as a result of this development - in the short (ish) term whilst the 2-3 years of building takes place and in the long term when the appartments etc. remain empty. Look at the development across from Riverside School - many of those appartments are still empty and unfinished - further along the canal towards Todmorden another conversion contains empty apartments.
Enough Said !!
Conservation - careful preservation and protection of something; especially : planned management of a natural resource to prevent exploitation, destruction, or neglect
From Janice S
Re: Tanpits - the whole Tanpits site provides parking for 12 cars. There are 4 council garages, 2 more cars can park 'behind the chain' (possibly space for more?) and 6 in the accessible space (if they park sensibly), making 12 spaces in all.
From Andy Preston
Janice, I take your point that more vehicles can fit into Tanpits if the chain is removed etc. But it is wrong for the action group to say in the report that this provides 12 extra spaces. Tanpits is commonly full to capacity already, so in reality, only 6 new/extra spaces will be provided if some work is done to stop it being a disorganised free for all.
And frankly, the same goes for Station Road. We've already lost 25% of the claimed spaces here. And in any case, with so many (approx. 12 today) commuters parking in non-designated areas, and the many others who travel on to neighboring stations because they cannot get a space, these 29 new spaces at Station Road will quickly be swallowed up commuters. A £2 charge is nothing compared to the inconvenience and cost of having to drive an extra few miles every day.
From Peter Hayton
Sorry, Andy, Janice, et al. to interrupt your debate about the details of various car parks in the town. Andy, you make some fair points but, frankly, you are fiddling while Rome burns.
The issue at present is the development plans for Garden Street and the reality is that the community has said, repeatedly, that these plans are completely unacceptable, not only in relation to the fairly limited amount of extra car parking to be provided but for several other more important reasons, particularly that they are completely contrary to the scale and character of the town; they would cause serious disruption and damage to businesses, to the extent that some say they would have to move or close; and they would devastate the lives of neighbouring residents. There are over 3,000 letters of objection, over 1,000 names on a petition and 116 businesses (95% of those who have a view) signed up to those objections on documents at Calderdale Council Planning Services, available for public inspection. The Town Council has objected (twice), the M.P. for Calder Valley has objected (twice), the local Civic Trust has objected (twice) and Calder Ward councillors on Calderdale Council are opposed.
It may still be that Calderdale Council will ignore all this and approve these plans but, assuming sense prevails, it will then be a matter for the Council to actually do their job in relation to public car parking and provide extra capacity from the many possibilities that are available, albeit requiring some finance and/or the necessary will.
From Graham Barker
Like Peter Hayton and probably others, I’m getting a bit exasperated at the way this thread is going. The argument about how many cars one can park on the head of a pin is overshadowed by the fact that Hebden Bridge is just not suited to mass car parking, Garden Street development or Station Road or wizardry notwithstanding. The space simply isn’t there without demolishing half the town centre. That’s the nature of Hebden Bridge, and anyone living in it, working in it, visiting it or commuting from it really has to accept that constraint or go somewhere else. There will never be enough car parking in Hebden Bridge, because for every new space created, there will be at least two cars wanting it. Managing the use of existing spaces more efficiently is a better way to go than the Garden Street monstrosity but it still doesn’t alter the fundamentals. Hebden Bridge is not Milton Keynes, and long may it stay that way.
Andy – first I will clarify the facts, and then make some wider points. The figure of 12 spaces in Tan Pit Yards is deliberately drawn from the developer's own application (Design & Access statement paragraph 12 .8), precisely so that people could not claim that the Action Group were making up figures – although I have long used that number based on my own assessment of the space. In terms of Station Road, at first I didn't understand where your '29 spaces' reference was coming from, but now I see that it is here and here
I had checked yesterday with the Clerk to the Town Council that 39 spaces was the working figure for the capacity of the new car park (it was) but he also pointed out that the numbers kept changing with different versions of the layout received from Calderdale. At the start of the process, by the way, it was 50 spaces. Now apparently it has settled at 29.
The fact that it is 29 + 12 = 41 long stay spaces makes no difference to the argument of the Parking Wizard, because the number of cars being displaced from Garden Street according to his proposals was less than 25. So let me urge you instead to look at the bigger picture:
- Whilst the Action Group was proposing to move Garden Street to medium stay (maximum six hours, displacing 51% of the available parking hours), the developers' conversion to the same philosophy is even more radical – see David Fletcher's letter to Hebden Bridge Times 28th August. Although it it is not completely clear (since the details are not in writing), they are apparently now proposing 'maximum 4 hour stay', which would displace 82% of the parking hours in the existing car park. And, unlike the Action Group, they have not identified a location for the much larger number of long stay users this would displace (45 cars) to go to.
- Unfortunately, combining a substantial increase in the number of spaces with a re-designation to short stay also means that there will then be a huge excess of supply over demand. The figures I presented to the public meeting last week - again drawn from the developer's own figures - demonstrated that, under this regime, the new basement car park would never be more than 20% full during weekdays, and largely empty most of the time.
On the separate point of spaces in the Station Road area being occupied by commuters, why would they occupy the new spaces at a charge when they can still park for free on the Road/ A646 as they are doing at the moment? But you will also see in the Calderdale press release that the day charge won't apparently be £2 but £1, so maybe that relationship will change.
It just shows you, you have to direct the approach to parking in a place like Hebden Bridge according to a clear and internally consistent strategy; otherwise you are lost. The Garden Street developer doesn't have one – or any understanding of the internal dynamics within their own proposals; and the section of the Council promoting this development doesn't; but the Action Group does.
From Andy Preston
Anthony, this makes no sense.
As I have said already, Tanpits is currently full to capacity every day. This means there is no realistic gain in terms of available spaces. None.
At Station Road, many of the spaces currently used by commuters will be lost to the car park entrance/exit and hard landscaping, and no they cannot park on the road, or hadn't you noticed that it is all double-yellow now? And as almost anyone could tell you, so is the majority of the A646 by the entrance to Station Road. You're not suggesting commuters will park illegally to save £1 are you?
I've already explained why commuters will swallow up all the new spaces at Station Road. £1 is nothing compared to travelling on to another station where spaces are free, which a great many already do.
It still remains a fact that the figure of 39 spaces claimed in the action group report, is wrong. The reality and truth of the matter, is that the amount of NEW spaces is nowhere even close to the figure being claimed. And as one of the 25 'displaced' from Garden Street, I think some answers are required.
From Gordon Rimer
Maybe we've never had our eyes on the ball in that this is an outline planning application. It's asking for vehicular entry and egress, it has stated that there is no chance of any social housing, it has given outside dimensions of buildings and also stated numbers of housing, shop, business units etc. and that's all it needs to do in order to increase the value of the land. It can sell it then . . . remember the plot for environmentally friendly housing up in Colden, was his name Plantagenet? He certainly raised the value of that piece of land!!
Sorry for the delay in responding; I've been away from Hebden for a few days. For whatever reason, Andy doesn't want to take the point that the capacity of a car park is not just determined by the number of physical spaces but also by a number of aspects of its management regime, which I will illustrate as follows:
- Yes, Tan Pit yards is occupied to some extent everyday at present (by a number of garages, contents unknown; and a few cars parking for free), but that is not the same as efficient occupation, which is what the Action Group is proposing. In the same way that the Council car park at Stubbing Holme Road is also largely full everyday, but that is because it is free and unenforced; if instead it was redesignated as a charged-for short stay car park (see the report paragraph 33) then its capacity would be immediately expanded. Our proposal for Tan Pits involves making it available for effective long stay use during the day: by removing the garages and making an appropriate charge so that 12 spaces can be used efficiently. Residents would continue to be able to use both car parks for overnight use according to the current (quite unsatisfactory) residents parking scheme.
- On the Station Road car park, where you say that 'It still remains a fact that the figure of 39 spaces claimed in the Action Group report is wrong', all I can say is that you have an odd idea of the word 'wrong'. The figure of 39 spaces in the report was right on the date of publication (23rd August), and now has to be modified to take account of a subsequent announcement by Calderdale Council on 5th September. The reduction of 10 spaces makes no difference to the principle of the Parking Wizard's argument (as I explained in my previous message, which you have ignored), but the reduction in the day charge from £2 to £1 will clearly affect the pattern of use, as anybody can see, so you need to query the organisation that is proposing £1. Of course, you set the charge of a car park to fulfil a number of purposes including to balance supply and demand; £1 is too low in my opinion but can easily be adjusted.
- Finally, “as one of the 25 'displaced' from Garden Street” you seem to want to ignore the more important point from my previous message which is that the proposals of the Garden Street developer for 4 Hour Maximum stays would displace not 25 of you but 40; and that they haven't identified a location where the 40 users would go to. We can all understand that 25 long stays displaced from Garden Street can be accommodated in an identified 29 space car park (and even more in 29 + 12 spaces); but that 40 displaced cars cannot be accommodated on an unidentified car park. On that basis, I would've thought your quarrel is with the developer.
As you say, 'I think some answers are required', but you should direct your questions in David Fletcher's direction and not to me. Why don't you do that?
From Jacob G
Has anyone any experience of posting comments on the www.gardenstreet.co.uk website? I have posted several comments, some asking directly for acknowledgment or response, or if comments are going to be posted, but without success. I think this is probably indicative of the prevailing attitude of the developers...either that, or it is just plain rude.
From Penny T
I have read and reread the report put forward by the Garden street Action Group on how to solve the parking problems in Hebden Bridge, and it just does not add up.
The car parking issue is a simple one. Demand outweighs supply.
This will leave us less long stay parking in the town centre. The people displaced from Garden street under the GSAG proposals will have to find alternative places to park, like out side my front door! I only mention this because on a Wednesday, Thursday Saturday and Sunday its hard to walk down my street due cars parked on either side. These, for your information are market days. Days when the 31 spaces are lost from the car park, and these cars are ‘displaced’.
Mr Rae therefore proposes to 25 long stay parkers, and put them on the streets.
The proposals to make 50% of the spaces short stay simply do not work. You have not increased the number of spaces, simply decreased the length of time you can stay. Same supply, same demand.
The 'Wizard' seems to think that people will only arrive in Hebden in alloted times.
This is the fundamental flaw in the proposals. Under these proposals Visitors are only allowed to stay for 4 hrs.
This could be very damaging for commerce in Hebden. Dictating how long a person can stay could be very damaging to Hebden Bridge.
I wouldn’t travel to, say Harrogate, knowing i could only park for 4 hrs. I wouldn’t bother going. Visitors wont bother coming to Hebden.
Other proposals have asked if ‘we’ can buy the coal yard and put a car park there? Who exactly will pay for this? Find an investor? Ask nicely if we can have it for free? Or ask the taxpayers to pay for it? The Garden Street proposals will not cost me anything. Alternatives will.
First I'll deal with the factual errors, and then we can continue the discussion:
- 'Demand outweighs supply': In general, no it doesn't, although demand approaches the level of supply at limited times of the day/week. This is set out in paragraph 18 of the report, and the survey spreadsheet is also on our website.
- The Action Group's proposals to redesignate Garden Street car park were for 'Maximum 6 hour stays', not '4 hours' as you say, because we were carefully not trying to be too radical and it limited the extent of displacement (to 23 cars in the developer's own survey). No, it is the developer – and the Council - who apparently are proposing 'Maximum 4 hours', which therefore limits the length of stay a little more and displaces more cars (40 of them). So, as I replied to Andy, your disagreement is more with them not the Action Group.
- The points about the Station Road car park are confusing two parking problems simply because they're co-located, and then accusing the Council of an 'inadequate' solution to the problem Metro have created and Calderdale aren't trying to solve. As I wrote before to Andy, it is less likely that commuters will fill up the new car park since they will have to pay; whereas at the moment they park for free. Yes, the charge is too low at £1, so the answer would be - increase it! It would still be cheaper than all day in Garden Street.
- 'You have not increased the number of spaces, simply decreased the length of time you can stay. Same supply, same demand.' No, we're proposing segregation by location according to length of stay to ensure that the right sort of parking opportunities are available in the appropriate places, which is orthodox parking management. In this case, medium stay in the town centre itself, which makes available many more parking opportunities in that pressured location. And that's an increased supply.
- 'Visitors won't bother coming to Hebden'. Actually, visitors and residents are less likely to come to Hebden Bridge if the largest town centre car park is clogged up inappropriately with long stay users. Which is the reason why, during the Traffic Review, the Business Association in a very enlightened way supported the enforcement of existing on-street parking regulations, because the spaces were being blocked up by long stayers.
- As for your final comment: 'The Garden Street proposals will not cost me anything. Alternatives will.' - the saying is about knowing 'the price of everything and the value of nothing'. And you're also ignoring the cost that will be paid by the town's businesses as a result of the disruption during the development period. Which is the reason why they don't want Garden Street either.
From Myra Lesley
Point of correction to Penny T., whose concerns about proposed time limits on parking in Garden Street appear to be misdirected. As I understand it, the Action Group recommends maximum six hour parking in Garden St car park. It is the developer who is suggesting only four hours.
From Janice S
I see that the planning officers have recommended that the planning committee accept the planning application. What a nightmare!
Penny T - I don't have a car but I'd rather see an increase in my council tax to pay for increased parking provision than see this development damage the economy of Hebden Bridge. Can you imagine what life will be like for the residents of Albion Mill and Albert Street when the development is taking place? Would you like to put up with the noise of piledrivers and construction machinery and the dirt and disruption for a couple of years, just a few yards from where you live? And for what? Some more luxury apartments, and possibly a few more public parking spaces. Mind you, by the time we get extra spaces from the Garden Street development (if we do) I predict there will be less demand because there will be so many empty shops and far fewer visitors.
Hebweb News - Report of public meeting at Riverside School
YouTube videos from the public meeting at Riverside School
Hebweb Feature on Garden Street
Planning Watch - for commenting online and links to developers' documents.
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