Posted by Andrew Hall
I recently visited the site at Linden Mill, having read so much about it, but never having actually seen it.
My visit confirmed my worst fears about the proposed development. This is an absolutely vital area of woodland in an otherwise totally built-up landscape. It is a little natural gap, a sort of lung, between the houses on Moss Lane and the rest of the town.
It is inconceivable that anyone could possibly consider developing this site and putting buildings on it, unless those people had a total disregard for the sensitive nature of the area, and could see an opportunity to make money out of the site.
That's where my 'worst fears' come in. This development is nothing to do with ecology, and regard for the area. It's to do with making money. What is worse, it's to do with making money by exploiting the 'green credentials' of Hebden Bridge. We have read, ad nauseam, how environmentally friendly these houses will be, how they'll release less carbon dioxide and save the world! We never hear about how much the developers may make from the site. The arguments are always one-sided.
The emotional blackmail has been enormous - just look at the various planning applications and letters in the local press. "If you don't agree with us, you're obviously not in tune with nature, which of course you are, since you live in Hebden Bridge! So how can you possibly oppose us!" That is the general message. It's underhand, unfair, and of course, nonsense. In many ways, one would prefer an 'in-yer-face' builder who applied to bulldoze the whole site and concrete it over. We'd all know the score then.
But developers in Hebden Bridge know they have to play up the green credentials of their proposals. They won't get a look in otherwise. And so we get eco ponds, eco walkways, eco this, eco that, eco everything! And they do this in the hope that we will be blinded with eco-correctness and won't see their real mercenary aims. Well, they're wrong!
I suggest that, if the developers of the Linden Mill site have any real interest in the site, they plant daffodils, shrubs, and trees, and forget about silly and insensitive buildings.