Discussion Forum

Proposed Eco Homes at Colden

From Councillor Mick Taylor
Wednesday, October 4, 2006

The 3 local Calderdale Councillors will be meeting with local residents on Monday 9th October at 7pm to help the newly formed action group against the proposal by Dunlop Haywards to build 30 'holiday eco-homes' in the green belt.

The 3 of us will take a lot of convincing that this plan is anything other than a ruse to try and build in the greenbelt. 'Eco' is being used not as a genuine device to help the planet, but as a ploy to get round planning regulations.

We have seen similar attempts with the Mill Pond in Hebden Bridge and other applications.

Residents can contact their local Cllrs as follows: Mick Taylor, 07979 954349, Janet Battye, 01706 815292 and Nader Fekri, 01422 843316.

From Robert Scholey
Wednesday, October 4, 2006

I have to point out the following I will number them for ease.

  1. 200,000.00 for a "house" that is to be used for 4 weeks annual leave?
  2. Built out of concrete? us Colden residents are not allowed to build any thing at all, unless it is of suitable stone ( quarried in the area over 200 years ago,not available any longer) to strict guidelines laid down by laws pertaining to a green belt conservation area.
  3. Water,where will the water supply come from? The mains is heavily overloaded as it is!
  4. Electricity, where is that going to come from? I a resident in Colden have been without electrity supply as the mains cannot cope. You intend to put 30 more houses on an already stressed system?
  5. Telephone. I was informed that there were insufficient lines to deal with the amount of demand on the telephone infrastucture in this district as it is. I cannot receive the quality required now!without 30 more potential users taking urgently needed resources!
  6. Sewerage, the main sewer serving this area has burst several times as it is too heavily overloaded and has allowed raw sewerage into local natural waterways.
  7. There is no mains gas in this area. What is going to provide the necessary heating for such properties?
  8. Shop. Why 30 partialy inhabited houses are not going to need a shop! May's farm shop has been the centre of village life here in Colden for as long as I can recall, providing an exellent service morning afternoon and evening every day of the year (closing only christmas day). May's shop provides more than any other shop I know of and will always assist when difficulties arise. Heptonstall village has lost many of its shops due to lack of custom and there is a larger population than 30 holiday houses can provide!
  9. Eco friendly how?

From Paul Dally
Wednesday, October 4, 2006

As a resident of the Colden Valley I echo the sentiments expressed by the former contributors.

The application seems to me to be bizarre in the extreme - 30 concrete underground second homes to be retailed by the developer at £200,000 - £300,000 per unit (the developer indicated to the meeting on Monday that he is acting on his own and there is no other involvement, local or otherwise) a car park covered in turf, a cafeteria and a shop. All of these within an extremely short distance of the recently designated nature reserve at Colden Clough.

The proposed development is probably bigger than the existing village of Blackshawhead itself!

This must not be permitted to proceed. If the planners at Calderdale have even an inkling of permitting it, then who knows what is in store for the rest of the area, rural or urban.

Posted by Andrew Hall
Thursday, October 5, 2006

Spot on Cllr Taylor! In the correspondence about the development at Windsor Road, someone coined the phrase 'greenwashing' - i.e the way property speculators try and win us over by pretending that their proposals are environmentally sound. It didn't work at Windsor Road, and it most certainly won't work here. This Colden development is so utterly naive and bizarre that one is tempted to laugh it off as being some sort of joke.

The developer has however demonstrated that this is no joke. He doesn't live locally and has dismissed objectors as just being jealous! He must have already spent a large amount money on this project, and with an impending planning application, is going to spend more. You only do that if you think you can get your plans through.

I can't see this one getting past Calderdale Council, and if it goes to appeal, the Planning Inspectorate. But that is no excuse for complacency. This ridiculous scheme must be fought all the way.

Posted by Roland & Kate
Monday, October 9, 2006

To quote an article in the Guardian in February of this year:

"Critics of second homes list a number of key problems . . . second-home owners typically use local services, such as libraries, post offices, shops and schools, far less - which serves to undermine their viability. In combination, this increases the pressure on those looking for jobs and homes - typically, the young - forcing them to leave the area to look elsewhere, which exacerbates the problem further still.

Either way, supporting the local economy by staying in a locally owned hotel or B&B seems a far more sustainable way to enjoy a much-loved area."

Given the sizes of the local villages of Colden and Blackshaw Head this development would add a significant number of housing units dedicated to 'holiday homes' thus catapulting the local area into crisis as seen in so many national park villages now. Here we have a very strong and vibrant community; this development would mark the beginning of its destruction.

Posted by Mike
Thursday, October 12, 2006

I agree wholeheartedly with all of the above, and would like to add that there is possibly a wider issue to note here. The developers have admitted that this proposal is the first of its kind in the UK. If this were to be given the go ahead it would signal a "green light" for hoards of other developers that are probably waiting in the wings ready to do something similar themselves. This could spark many more such schemes anywhere in the UK.
Green belt erosion would then rage unchecked in many similar locations. If possible it would be beneficial to try and get the help of country-wide associations such as the ramblers association to add their support to this campaign.

Posted by Tweakame
Saturday, October 14, 2006

There is nothing ecological about second homes full stop!!

In our opinion his has got to be another local attempt at a world record for the most absurd oxymoronic spin we have seen. I mean how much more simple, obvious and glaring does it have to be.

Posted by Craig
Saturday, October 14, 2006

This proposal is an absolute disgrace. Smells similar to the proposals in Heptonstall several years ago

It was stopped then and it should be stopped now.

This also doesn't fit into the Village plan of Blackshaw Head published a few years ago by the Wayahead Group on behalf of Blackshaw Parish Council - perhaps the newly formed Action Group could dig a copy out and use this in their defence.

Posted by Lesley Jones
Saturday, October 14, 2006

Did anyone else spot this?

Posted by Andy M
Saturday, October 14, 2006

Ian Plantagenet writes in todays HB Times about how he will 'fight for the rights' of these poor second home seekers. I thinks its high time someone stood up for the interests of these opressed vacational vagrants. These poor souls, down to their last £250k, traipsing around the country miles from theor own homes need all the help they can get.

ps: If they care to send an SAE to me they can have my house for £300k ono.

Posted by Andrea Jessen
Tuesday, October 17, 2006

With shock and utter amazement we read the article about the proposed holiday ?eco-park? near the Colden Clough nature reserve in the Hebden Bridge Times from 5th October.

If such a project would be permitted to go ahead the whole of the Hebden Bridge area, and in fact the whole of the UK, would also be a possible target for similar irresponsible proposals.

We feel very strongly about protecting the countryside from any adverse impact, particularly in our home region, and would like to assure the people of Colden and Blackshawhead of our support.

If it had not been for the instant initiative and action of local residents and our local newspaper ** we would probably only have found out by accident or when passing a planning notice at the site that another ruthless profit-orientated developer intends to turn a beautiful and ecologically important part of our countryside into a playground for wealthy people retiring to their all-inclusive country retreat for part of the year.

Of course, this disgraceful proposal had to be wrapped up nicely so that it would be attractive to the residents, but above all to the planning department. So these holiday homes are advertised as eco-friendly, blending in with the environment and creating the amazing number of 6 (!) jobs.

This is yet another example of which there are so many where the terms ?environment-friendliness? and ?eco? are abused to cover up selfish objectives of individuals in search of profitable developments. But the local people will not be lured into supporting a project which would have a devastating impact on the environment and on their lives.

Mr Plantagenet sneaks into our area with a plan that would only be beneficial to himself and his associates. We very much doubt that he has a real understanding of this region and the fact that he had apparently only approached a handful of residents with his proposal proves that he was trying to get away with it easily. However, any developer with honest intentions and concern for the environment would take a public approach and openly advertize their plans at an early stage to give everybody who lives in the region a chance to have their say and they would listen to residents? concerns. And any responsible developer would not even make such proposal for a location in greenbelt area.

This development would destroy the harmonious, beautiful and unspoilt landscape and adversely affect the habitat of local flora and fauna. The site in question is not destined to be built on, it is located in green-belt area near a nature reserve. The development would also further unnecessarily increase traffic on the road leading through the outskirts of Heptonstall and the villages of Colden and Blackshawhead.

Mr Plantagenet?s letter which was publicised in Hebden Bridge Times from 12th October is a poor attempt to defend his plans and reveals his real intentions. He has obviously the ambition to push for the implementation of ?the first development of this nature in the whole of the UK? which would ?pave the way for so many exciting new projects? so that he can win fame for being a pioneer, but first of all it would nicely fill the pockets of those involved and would continue to do so if successful at the expense of destroying much needed unspoilt countryside which must be preserved for the future.

The alleged eco-friendly, energy- and thermally efficient properties of this project are not making it any more attractive or valuable, in fact this argument is irrelevant because the proposed location is not suitable and inappropriate for such a development from a start.

Standing up for the tourists? rights is another ridiculous attempt to gain points. How can Mr Plantagenet make himself an ambassador for tourists if he does not even live in the area and has obviously no idea of the historic attractiveness of Hebden Bridge and surrounding communities for visitors as a very welcoming and tourist-friendly area. If he had actually asked people visting the area they would have certainly confirmed that residents are not hostile towards visitors and happy to share the beauty on their doorstep with visitors and tourists as long as the countryside with its abundance of wildlife and their privacy are respected, which any responsible visitor does anyway. Uninterrupted views and unspoilt countryside are enjoyed by residents and visitors alike.

Hebden Bridge is on the brink to receive the ?Walkers are Welcome? status and our area provides a great and sufficient variety of accommodation, shopping and leisure facilities for every taste and budget offering excellent value for money.

In fact, tourists are already catered for more than the residents in many aspects and there are more improvements to come. Through their various contributions local people have made it possible for visitors to enjoy a great day out, a short break or a longer holiday in the Hebden Bridge area. It is imperative that visitors and tourists use the existing amenities to create revenue to reward local people?s efforts and contributions. Visitors and tourists should invest in the community through paying for enjoying the local attractions and using the various facilies already on offer, not by abusing them. The support of the local economy is vital, but this is not achieved through building a holiday park as Mr Plantagenet wants us to make believe. Holiday-home owners use local services when they are in the area, yet they do not contribute to their provision and maintenance which is down to the community.

There is no need for holiday homes with a massive car-parking area which would not be permanently inhabited, but would be a permanent eye-sore for local residents, because comfortable and friendly accommodation for visitors is readily available at any time of the year. There is also no need for a café and shop in Colden because excellent and much valued shopping facilities are available nearby at May?s farmshop and the local pub has an attractive menue catering for various tastes.

The reasons for the totally justified objections of the local people are clear, jealousy is certainly not one of them (what should they be jealous of in respect of this development?). We are wondering why those locals who allegedly ?embrace the scheme? according to Mr Plantagenet have not yet come forward demonstrating their support? Furthermore, the accusation that people are trying to deprive him of a living is simply laughable and bears no justification. Why does Mr Plantagenet not try to make a living by proposing this project for a suitable location, if he can find one? How about trying to satisfy his ambition and greed on his own doorstep, maybe his local people are more welcoming? Or would such homes not sell so well in the Bradford area?

This development is not only the concern of the residents of Colden and Blackshawhead, but it is just as much in the interest of anybody living in our wider community, and furthermore anywhere in the UK, that such a proposal is not approved. We would like to encourage everybody to support the preservation of our countryside and the protection of greenbelt land from exploitation and voice their objections now.

(** and thanks also to the initiative of local residents, the Hebden Bridge Web was able to be the first to report it - webmaster)

Posted by Michael H
Wednesday, October 25, 2006

So - Mr. Plantagenet intends to fight for the rights of tourists and visitors against the 'hostile' locals in furthering his proposal to construct his so-called eco friendly holiday complex in the Colden valley.

What planet, or which century does he think he is in?

That there is a quickly growing opposition to his hair brained and frankly deceitful proposal is hardly surprising. But this opposition has nothing to do with hostility towards anyone.

It quite simply and honestly reflects a strong determination to prevent this beautiful part of the Colden valley hillside from being completely destroyed.

The proposed development consists of 30 'up market' £200,000 to £300,000 'hobbit holes' built into a north facing hillside. They are to be constructed primarily out of concrete - the most un-eco-friendly of building materials. This is yet another example of a developer, (this one Bradford based) disguising his gross profit making motivations in eco babble.

Not only this, but incredibly he is also claiming to be defending the rights of wealthy people to own second homes (!), built on land officially designated as a Special Landscape Area,( UDP and SCOSPA ).

Finally, should Mr.Plantagenet or any of his potential investors wish to holiday in the Colden valley they will find already existing a variety of holiday accommodation and amenities, together with a warm Pennine welcome.

From Kathy
Monday, 13 November 2006

Clearly Mr Plantagenet (is that really his name?!) is one of several so called "developers" whose sole aim is to move in, build something dreadful, make a load of cash, move out again. There is nothing "eco" about his proposals - he is merely latching onto a term which he feels will pass the test of folk in the area and more fools us if we let it happen. When will people realise that there is only so much of the lovely countryside left and if we continue to let more developers in then eventually the reason folk want to live in these areas will no longer exist - don't give in to this guy - he has nobody's interests at heart except his own.

From Paul Dally
Tuesday, 14 November 2006

The developer revealed last week that he would lodge a planning application sometime this week for permission to build a 30 home eco-holiday park near Blackshawhead in the Colden Valley.  The scheme has been greeted with widespread shock and dismay in the local community and residents have responded by forming an action group to fight the proposal.  A petition has already gathered over 300 signatures – not only from local residents but also visitors to the area.

A third community meeting was held on Monday 13 November, attended by over 90 people in which residents were urged to send in their individual objections to Calderdale Council. 

The whole community is voicing their opposition through letters to the press, on the internet and in the many offers of support and help we have received. Our campaign continues to gather momentum, and has also recently attracted the support of well-known writers Juliet Barker and Glyn Hughes.

This is an important turning point for the future of this whole area, and people are our greatest asset in this campaign.  It is vitally important that all those who oppose the development send in their individual objections to the development within 21 days of it being publicised by Calderdale Council. The signatures on the petition are also a great way of demonstrating the strength of feeling against the development.

We are determined to fight the proposal and make sure it never comes to fruition in any form.

From Robert Scholey
Saturday, 25 November 2006

My utter "dismay" about this matter has become uncomprehendable. The fact that after all that has been said both here and in the press has still not made "the developer" realise that this is a very foolish mission!

The area in question is North facing - (for those unfamiliar with what that means - simply the sun rises in the east sets in the west via a southerly direction) - anywhere facing north does not get sun! Meaning that a north facing property will require considerably more energy to heat it to a suitable temperature for dwelling! Nothing so far has shown that "eco-friendly" power is to be provided nor have communications, water and waste been catered for!

I am sure that the wildlife will have somewhat of a shock to find their homes have been filled with concrete, their breeding and mating grounds turned into a "car park", their hunting grounds turned into a cafetieria. The delecate "flora and fauna" dessimated for what?

I see no gain for visitors, tourists, hikers, holiday-makers or walkers when what they have come to see has been turned into "tele-tubbie land". I cannot see one single "green" thing about this plan at all!

I have yet to meet a single person who could not get accomodation in this area; not a single person !

From Johnny Marascalco
Monday, 27 November 2006

I do not support this development, however, I believe it is also foolish to make a comparison of the energy efficiency of buildings based solely on their orientation. A great many factors are involved in determining the environmental impact and energy efficiency of a building, and many of the objections being made here are speculative and have no real basis in fact.

Information about the development is scant at best, frequently exaggerated by objectors, and this continuing hysteria surrounding the matter does little to strengthen valid objections.

Posted by Andrew Hall
Sunday, 3 December 2006

No, Johnny, no no no!!

If you read the thread, nobody has made claims solely on the basis of the orientation of the houses. It is however, a valid point that houses on a North facing slope will receive less sunlight than those, say, on a South facing slope. The result is that houses on a North facing slope will need more energy to be heated to the same level as those on a South facing slope. And that has basis in fact.

Yes, I agree, information is scant and will continue to be so until we can see the planning application. In the meantime, it is quite right and proper to look at all the potential pitfalls associated with this mad-cap scheme. Consider it a type of brainstorming session - some objections will be valid and some less so (although I have to say I haven't seen anything unreasonable yet). And a 'basis in fact' is not a pre requisite of a valid objection - objections can be totally subjective and still carry weight.

You don't support the planning application, and I'm sure we all applaud that. But you need not worry that objections which, in your view are not valid, or are trivial or have no basis in fact, will somehow weaken the overall case. They won't - Calderdale planning officers are perhaps more experienced than you give them credit for.

From Johnny Marascalco
Monday, 4 December 2006


I never said that anybody had made such an objection.

If you had read my comment properly, you would have noted that I said nothing about objections based solely on orientation.

My point is clearly made ie. that it is foolish and simplistic to condemn the "environmental impact and energy efficiency" of a building based solely on it's orientation. Which remains true.

Many of the objections being made are entirely speculative, much of it based on rumour, an artistic impression of the development and some very much ad-libbed answers made by the developer to questions posed by a baying mob! Examples of this speculation are clear to see throughout this thread. Any gaps of information about the development have been quickly filled with hysterical claims that no provisions have been made for this or that, the house specification has no ecological thinking behind them, and the homes are to be occupied for only a fraction of the year.

The proposal is being fought "in any form". Which must surely mean that even if it met the highest ecological standards, minimised environmental impact etc etc, it would be objected to. This is hysterical nimby behaviour, pure an simple.

As far as the planners are concerned, my view of their ability is neither here nor there, and I have not criticised them in any way, merely pointed out that diluting arguments with speculative nonsense detracts from those making vaild and authentic objections, by not allowing all concerned to focus effectively on the issues which really matter. It must be said that contributors to this discussion forum have frequently directed criticism and derisory comments toward the planning department, and this must be the first time I have witnessed anyone leap to their defense!

For the record, here are some of the best examples of the type of comments I object to:

" . . . us Colden residents are not allowed to build any thing at all, unless it is of suitable stone (quarried in the area over 200 years ago,not available any longer) to strict guidelines laid down by laws pertaining to a green belt conservation area." Not true.

"The proposed development is probably bigger than the existing village of Blackshawhead itself!" Oh really?

" . . . the way property speculators try and win us over by pretending that their proposals are environmentally sound." Because all property speculators are devious tricksters of course.

"thus catapulting the local area into crisis". Complete and utter hysterical speculation.

". . . it would signal a "green light" for hoards of other developers that are probably waiting in the wings ready to do something similar themselves... Green belt erosion would then rage unchecked in many similar locations". I don't think so.

". . . to cover up selfish objectives of individuals in search of profitable developments" Do you watch television? Everyone is at it, making financially shrewd property moves. And they are not giving the profits to charity.

"Mr Plantagenet sneaks into our area". WHAT??

"We are wondering why those locals who allegedly 'embrace the scheme' according to Mr Plantagenet have not yet come forward demonstrating their support?" Oh yes, I do wonder. Perhaps being publicly berated and the possibility of lynching might put them off a bit.

"concrete - the most un-eco-friendly of building materials"Simply untrue.

" . . . nor have communications, water and waste been catered for!" But it hasn't been built yet. Why should it be catered for already?

"The delecate "flora and fauna" dessimated" This is a housing development, not a nuclear weapons testing site!

From Michael Horne
Wednesday, 6th December 2006

Having read the recent contribution from Mr. Marascalco re. the kind of objections HE objects to, I wonder who HE is to pronounce so haughtily on other peoples' concerns and their expression of these concerns. At this stage, prior to an application being submitted all expressions of concern are useful. Some represent emotional responses, some are firmly grounded in areas of specialised knowledge. Both are legitimate.

So Mr. Marascalco please rest assured that the actiongroup committee and we objectors are very well prepared and knowledgable as to how best formally object to this insane proposal once it is submitted.

In the meantime perhaps instead of being so pedantic and nit-picky about peoples' expressions of their concerns, you would like to find time to make a more positive contribution to our fight to make sure this development never goes ahead.

From Johnny Marascalco
Thursday, 7 December 2006

Who am I? Someone with a point of view? Someone with as much entitlement to express it as anyone else?

There is nothing pedantic or nit-picky about pointing out what are wildly exaggerated and often speculative claims about the proposal. And I would like to know which of the quotes I pointed out are grounded in areas of specialised knowledge.

Aside from this, the level of antipathy expressed toward Mr. Plantagenet is shameful and uncivilised. Is this Hebden Bridge, or c.17 Salem? The proposal may be insane, however, attaching emotion to the matter is equally so in my humble opinion.

I would much rather see this debate encourage more positive and constructive contributions to the wider debate which this proposal is part of, ie. development in the valley. Why not less of the "never, not in any form, not in my back yard", and more of the "What if?" or "This is what we want...". Regularly maintaining (which most often appears to be the case) such a negative attitude toward proposed developments is parochial and regressive, and will likely do more to harm the local community than is intended.

From Graham Barker
Thursday, 7 December 2006

As a non-involved observer with some experience of being threatend by inappropriate development, I would suggest to Mr Marascalco that he sit this thread out until he cools down. It seems unwise to criticise others for using emotional, exaggerated and negative arguments when this seems to be exactly what he is doing.

Posted by Roland & Kate
Saturday, 3 February 2007

To allay the criticism of those accusing Colden & Blackshaw Head residents of being anti-tourist or very NIMBY, we would just like to add a voice of support to planning application no. 06/02486/OUT for two further additions to Riverdene House. The proposal, as we look at it, is for two carefully designed single storey units providing holiday accommodation with extensive disabled facilities. Part of the careful design ensures that the roof line between existing buildings is not exceeded.

The land is currently a concrete slab that was part of Colden Mill (demolished around 40 years ago) and is thus a brown-field site in every respect. Riverdene provide excellent facilities – we have used them to accommodate our own visitors, some with disabilities – may their business thrive.

As for green-field site second homes – well, that’s rather different!

From Johnny Marascalco
Wednesday, 7 February 2007

I cannot really see where the careful design of this proposal is illustrated by the planning application. The new building does not appear to have any windows or doors.

Thread continues here

See also

Hebweb News: Oct 2006
"ECO-PARK" planned for Colden Hillside
Hebweb News: Nov 2006
Local authors support campaignto save the Colden Valley
Forum thread - From Feb 2007

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