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Plans for flats next to Little Park

From Susie Hodgin

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

I have received a letter from Calderdale Council re submission of planning application for this build.

Planning Application Number is 16/00781/FUL

From Chris Barnett

Thursday, 7 July 2016

It seems that the flooding issues have been addressed (sort of), but there are plenty of other reasons to object to this nonsense. Two that come to mind are:

  • No parking provision.
  • Building a block of flats on the boundary of a playground with ground floor windows.

I'm sure there will be plenty of objections to this application, but whether Calderdale take a blind bit of notice will be, as ever, doubtful.

From David Mack

Thursday, 7 July 2016

From a quick look on Calderdale's website, this seems to be the same as before, except they are now proposing a pedestrian only footbridge access over the river from Waterside Fold, and no car parking.

They have even had the cheek to resubmit the February 2015 Flood Risk Assessment Report, so making no reference to the Boxing Day flood!

From Chris Barnett

Thursday, 7 July 2016

I've just been having a look through the new application (mostly rehashed bits of earlier ones, including a ludicrously outdated Flood Risk Assessment).

I notice that the applicant had pre application advice from Richard Seaman on 1st June. I'm not for one moment suggesting any sort of behind-closed-doors nod-and-a-wink deal has been done (perish the thought), but I think this suggests that the applicant has been told that this application stands a good chance of being approved.

From David D

Friday, 8 July 2016

The submissions include an old waste water report with engineers' calculations and drawings for a development with half the number of flats, a drawing for a bin store with one industrial size bin and no recycling provision. I wonder who and how the bin will be wheeled around to the front of the building then down three steps.

The last application that was agreed included parking. This one does not. Yet the applicant is trying to say the new application is the same as the previous one. The site still has problems with access and the use of Waterside Fold as a builders' yard.

The applicant must this time set out how he is going to build and how he will impact on other residents and properties. The applicant believes he has the right to access the site across Waterside Fold. This does not give him the right to park construction vehicles all day. Where does he plan to site his mortar tower, have his blocks and other materials stored? This needs to be explained or the council should put restrictions telling him that they can't use Waterside Fold without the express permission of the residents.

This is still a poorly thought out development.

From Kez Armitage

Friday, 8 July 2016

Looking at the proposed footbridge with its three substantial steps up to the bridge decking, I was wondering how this development complies with the disability access requirements for new build houses.

From Chris Barnett

Sunday, 10 July 2016

The closing date for comments on this planning application from members of the public is (I think) 20th July.

It is important that everyone who feels that this development should not be given planning permission makes a formal objection. I know a lot of people feel (with some justification) that comments by members of the public are usually ignored, but it is nevertheless important to make our feelings known.

Objections can easily be lodged on the Calderdale website, and there is information about valid reasons for objecting to a planning application on the Planning Portal website. Application reference is 16/00781/FUL.

I would also suggest that people lobby their Councillors (none of whom support this application) to put pressure on officers and other elected members to ensure that this ridiculous development is stopped.

The guidelines about commenting on planning applications seems to have disappeared from the Planning Portal website.

Have a look at Planning Aid on the RTPI website: there is a very useful section called Material Planning Considerations.


From Chris Wood

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Thanks for letting me know about this, its really important that as many people as possible object as its going to blight the area further if it gets through.

I think any reasonably minded individual can see the whole thing is deeply flawed.

This is the link to make comments on Calderdale's website, bear in mind you have to register (takes around 2 mins only)

From Chris Barnett

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

I notice from the Calderdale website that the applicant (or rather Phil Bradby, rather than KLA Builders who are listed as the applicant) has agreed to provide no parking signs, yellow lines and a clause in sale / rental agreements forbidding parking on Waterside Fold.

Bearing in mind that Waterside Fold is (as far as I know) a private road, I'm not sure that these will have any legal standing, and will probably be unenforceable (except by the residents being put to the trouble and expense of taking out civil action).

There's only a couple of days left to lodge objections with Calderdale, so if you want to try and stop this idiocy, get in there quick.

Oh, and I see that Phil Bradby is now calling the development "Waterside Mill". You couldn't make it up.

From Chris Wood

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Well done all that have placed a comment on the planning portal so far, comments are still open (today) but I read somewhere they are closing soon.

Please spread the word to parents who use Little park as it is going to be closed for at least ten months if this gets the go ahead. If you care about your children using the park for the foreseeable future put a comment objecting.

Objections are currently numbering 22 to 1 supporting (Phil's surveyor?), I reckon we can get at least 30-40 objecting if people know about this planning application,

Please spread the word!

From Tim M

Friday, 22 July 2016

Given that he already has planning permission to build here, he's started work and these flats are going ahead anyway (wishful thinking aside about revoking pp), I reckon this scheme is an improvement - removing the deck, improving the view of the river and reducing, apparently, the flood risk. I think there's a fair bit of misinformation floating around - I seem to recall that the park in the end wasn't being closed.

I agree though that the application probably needs more detail on how parking is going to work (although there's no obligation on a town centre site to provide it I think) and an updated flood risk assessment. But my main point is that with these addressed, this scheme could well be better than the one going ahead anyway. I don't live at Waterside Fold and I might feel differently if I did, but I do use the park. I have no connection to the developer!

From David D

Friday, 22 July 2016

Contacted Calderdale planning this morning, deadline for objections is 5th August.

From Chris Barnett

Friday, 22 July 2016

Thanks for confirming the deadline David: the Calderdale website is a bit vague on this.

Interestingly, as of this morning there have been no consultee comments posted from Environment Agency or Highways, these being the two consultees whose comments could sink this application.

I have checked the UDP requirements, and residential developments outside the Town Centre should have at least one parking space per unit. This site falls outside the defined Town Centre shown on the UDP map.

The current approval still stands legally, and nobody is expecting it to be revoked, but obviously after Boxing Day the approved development is untenable. The current application is a new application, not an amendment to the existing approval, and therefore has to stand or fall on its own merits.

The question (hopefully theoretical) of how the construction of this building affects the Little Park is possibly outside the remit of the planning application, but raises a whole load more questions.

Calderdale have agreed to fence off a safety zone around the contractor's scaffolding, which they maintain will not be on the playground, although I fail to see how the scaffolding could be anywhere else. Now that the platform over the river is to be removed, where will the contractor put the site compound - cabins, material storage, plant etc.? Where will cranes be located? What about deliveries of large bulky items (bricks, blocks, beams, roof trusses etc.) delivered on big trucks? What about access to the site?

Assuming the residents of Waterside Fold stand firm and don't allow all of this to be sited on their land, where will it all go?

Calderdale have always said that there are no plans for the playground to be closed to allow this development to be built, but if it is approved, I fail to see how can it be built without drastically affecting the use of the playground for a considerable period of time.

From Chris Barnett

Monday, 25 July 2016

Quick update on the planning situation: Highways have not objected to the fact that the development does not provide any parking, even though this is required to comply with RUDP Policy T18 because it is outside the "town retail zone".

They say that the site is "only just over 100m from the periphery, and the streets in the vicinity are covered by the town centre parking review".

Another instance of Calderdale's planning policies being cheerfully ignored to ensure that this development gets approval?

From David Thompson

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Chris, if regulations are being ignored to ensure that this development goes ahead, then this is a very serious matter. The implication is of improper, probably illegal, behaviour by officers of Calderdale Planning Department.

From Chris Barnett

Thursday, 28 July 2016

I have often felt that those involved in Calderdale's planning process, both officers and elected members, can at times be guilty of incompetence, laziness and spinelessness. I have never believed (or wanted to believe) that anything improper or illegal was involved, even in some of the more bizarre planning decisions.

I know that they have to work with complicated legislation and policies that are often open to different interpretations, and I know that it is often not easy to balance their legal obligations with the views of the public.

But the treatment of this development by Calderdale planners seems very concerning. I still don't believe that anything improper or illegal is going on, but i would quite understand if others thought differently.

From David Thompson

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Chris, I am not a champion for Calderdale Planning Department, in fact I have my own suspicions about their behaviour. However, if in this case, as you say, they have ignored regulations, even if it is due to incompetence or laziness, rather than dishonesty, their action is nevertheless illegal. It should be easy to demonstrate this, but it isn't.

In my experience attempts to deal with this sort of problem using the Council's complaint procedure and even as far as the Local Government Ombudsman will be fruitless. I have a spare room with floorboards groaning under the weight of documents generating in an attempt. How can it be dealt with? I am at a loss to say. You mention the complexity of the regulations. This plays directly into the hands of the unscrupulous or lazy planning officer who would like to convince you that they have privileged access to arcane and abstruse knowledge that the layman cannot possibly understand...they do not! We are all quite capable of understanding the rules. They have convinced councillors, even members of the Planning Committee, Complaints Officers and Chief Executives that they alone can understand "planning". Planning "crime" is probably rife throughout Britain, not for gain, but for expediency.

I think that the problem is now exacerbated by the failure of the local press. The medium that we are using here is largely responsible for that! Perhaps one of your Councillors will pick up on this and find the energy and commitment to pursue it using the authority that you have entrusted to them.

From Cllr Dave Young

Thursday, 28 July 2016

I find Chris Barnett's latest posting pretty offensive. I have campaigned against this proposed development from day 1. I set up meetings with residents of Waterside Fold and the Developer and went to the Planning Committee last year to oppose this development along with residents of Waterside Fold.

Unfortunately the Planning Application was passed by Calderdale Planning Committee because there was not a Planning issue at that time to oppose it that they could win on any potential Planning Appeal.

Then the boxing Day Floods happened and the Environment Agency stopped the proposed Development. Chris has sent me several emails over the last 18 months and I have always replied to him accordingly.

The latest Planning Application has been submitted that includes replacing the bridge with a footbridge. I and fellow Labour Councillor Ali Miles have objected to this latest Planning Application as have Hebden Royd Town Council where I am also a Member of.

To accuse me of 'both officers and elected members, can at times be guilty of incompetence, laziness and spinelessness' is bang out of order......

From Chris Barnett

Friday, 29 July 2016

I'm sorry that Dave Young has taken offence at my post, because my comments were directed at officers and certain elected members closely involved in determining planning decisions, not at Dave or any of our ward councillors.

Dave in particular has worked hard to try and support local people in their fight against this ludicrous development, and I think we all respect him and thank him for that.

Having said that, I am concerned that elected members (who usually don't have thorough knowledge of the complexities of planning law and policy) are advised by officers, and that this advice may not always be totally unbiased (Misinformation about planning appeals is a case in point). I've worked in local government long enough to know that it happens all the time. This isn't a criticism of elected members, but it's bound to happen with our system of local democracy.

In response to David Thompson's post, I am not talking about regulations being ignored or anything illegal being done, but about policies being ignored or distorted. Policies are not regulations, but to ignore them is not usually a sensible thing to do.

I'm going to try and shut up now until Calderdale make their decision on this application. I don't personally have any confidence that it will be refused, but let's hope I'm proved wrong.

From Chris Barnett

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

I know it's not my turn, and I know I said I would shut up until this application had been determined, but things have taken an interesting turn (and the Great Dog Debate has flared up again, so I need to bump this thread back to the top of the page).

As of this morning, the Calderdale planning website still seems to be open for comments about this application, despite the Expiry Date being 5th August and the Determination Deadline / Statutory Expiry Date being 17th August.

So far there have been 26 public comments and 3 Consultee Comments (Town Council, Highways and Countryside Services) but no comments have been posted from Environment Agency or Environmental Health.

I'm not sure what this means, but there's something odd about it. If anyone still wants to comment on this application, it looks like it's not too late.

From Chris Barnett

Monday, 5 September 2016

Comments from Environment Agency and Environmental Health have now been received, and both recommend approval (but with quite a lot of conditions attached).

The EA comments don't seem to take into account the likelihood of large items of debris hitting the footbridge during a major flood, and the Environmental Health comments don't properly address how refuse / recycling will be stored and removed, but these are obviously silly little details that shouldn't get in the way of approving this development.

Assuming officers and committee now approve this nonsense, we will have lots of fun watching the builders try and build a block of flats without using either Waterside Fold or the Little Park for site cabins, material storage, plant, cranes or scaffolding.

Hope they've got plenty of skyhooks........

From David D

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

It all appeared to have gone quiet on the development, but a look at the planning site shows that the developer is still not giving up.

There have been two additions submitted since the closing date for objections. Is he being allowed by planning to make changes rather than judging on what he had submitted? Can we now all add to our objections?

Looking at the drawings submitted, first set published on 7th September, there is a proposal for a bike store at the front left of the building. There are no elevations showing how tall it will be, so the residents of Leedham Court are unable to see how it would impact on them.

The bin store also appears to have moved to the front of the building, but is not labelled.

The second submission, published 26th September, now shows the bike store to have been removed and the bin store has been put back to the rear of the site.

Both these drawings now show some detail of how the bridge might be constructed, the flood wall appears to have been measured and they have accepted that the steps could not be contained completely within the width of the wall.

However there are still some worrying omissions.

  1. There is still no indication as to the type of bins to be used for waste or recycling so it is not possible to evaluate the effectiveness of the bin store, is it expected to hold eight individual wheely bins plus a similar number of recycling bins.
  2. The plans show a ramp at the front but no angle of slope is indicated, my estimate is in excess 45 degrees.
  3. The ramp is shown as well as the steps but no indication is given as to what the ramp is for. Is it for cyclists? I doubt it. Possibly it is to help the house holders to get the bins onto the street for collection. If this is the purpose then the drawing should show a manikin figure doubled over trying to drag the bin back up the slope. This is not an acceptable method of transferring the bins from the bridge to the street and back again.The plans give the impression that an industrial sized bin will be used rather than individual household wheelybins. This could not be dragged up the slope safely, or lowered down in a controlled manner.
    If this is the quality of design then I shudder to think what will appear in the actual building.
  4. The original plans indicated that the waste water would be taken off the site under the bridge. The new plans do not show how this will be done.

Best of all is the developer's belief in his ability to predict the future. When will this bridge be built? In which month is it safe to cut into the flood defence wall?

All residents and shop owners on this side of Hebden should be concerned that there is a plan to remove the flood defence wall for an undisclosed period of time.

From Chris Barnett

Friday, 30 September 2016

I too have been keeping an eye on the progress of this planning application, and now that all of the Consultee Comments are posted I think it is pretty obvious that it will be recommended by officers for approval.

  • The Town Council were the only ones who recommended refusal.
  • Countryside Services and Environmental Health haven't recommended approval or refusal because they want further investigation and survey work to be done (and do we really expect this work to be carried out?)
  • Highways have recommended approval despite non-compliance with RUDP Policy T18 (parking provision).
  • Building Control have added some very vague comments which seem to imply that the access arrangements for people with disabilities and refuse collection comply with the Building Regulations.
  • The Environment Agency have recommended approval (with conditions) on the basis that from a flood risk perspective this application is better than the existing situation and better than the application already approved. They are not saying it is good from a flood perspective, just that it could be worse, which doesn't seem a very satisfactory reason for recommending approval.

As far as I can tell, objections can still be posted. If I thought that objections from the public would make the slightest difference to the outcome of this ridiculous application, then I would add another one to the two I've already submitted, but we all seem to be wasting our time in this respect.

From Tim M

Saturday, 1 October 2016

Presumably the new documents on the planning site are in response to officers' requests from the applicant (we had the same experience). Completely agree that there are still unanswered questions - like for example a method statement or schedule for cutting into the flood walk with no risk (temporary barriers?) and it must be possible to incorporate the slope of the ramp (an elegant arch?) into the bridge - again, still not enough detail. But still a better scheme than the one with permission.

From Vikki Uttley

Sunday, 2 October 2016

I have objected to the build for many of the above reasons, as the matter drags on I can only come to the conclusion, that if this build is passed it would allow builders to look at other unfeasible sites. It would/could be difficult to refuse building permission as the Little Park build would be the yardstick for what is allowed. My sympathies go out to the residents whilst the issue drags on… and on… and on.

From Freddie B

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

If this madness does get passed can we do a freedom of information request to find out who is responsible for its approval?

Whoever is responsible should have to explain to the local residents why they think it is such a foolproof plan to build right next to a river overlooking a playground with no space for construction vehicles.

I wonder how they would feel if a developer planned to build a four storey building in front of their home?

From Tim M

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Freddie, there shouldn't be any need for an FoI request - there'll be a full planning officer's report on the Calderdale website. I think this may have gone to committee at some point, not sure how easy to find the minutes are though.

From Chris Barnett

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

It shouldn't be necessary to do a FOI request: the names of the officers involved will be on the appropriate documents which can be viewed on the Calderdale Planning website (ref: 16/00781/FUL).

If the application goes to Planning Committee, minutes will be available on the Calderdale website,

From Chris Barnett

Friday, 25 November 2016

I see that Calderdale planners have finally made up their mind about this ridiculous application.

After all of the objections, the blatant errors in the application, the lack of parking and the lack of proper consideration of flooding issues after Boxing Day, guess what........ they've recommended it for approval.

The document was posted on Calderdale's website today. I don't know which Planning Committe it will go to, but I trust that our local councillors (and no doubt local residents) will be there to make a noise.

I'm just popping down to Ladbrokes to put a few quid on the Little Park being sold to Phil Bradby before the year's out.

From Vikki Uttley

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Have just received a letter with information about the application and Planning Committee meeting regarding Land West of Playground Waterside Fold (Little Park).

Not only is the meeting at 2pm on the 6th December, when most people will be at work, it's to be held at Halifax Town Hall, not Hebden Bridge Town Hall. Why would this be? It would be so much easier for a lot of parents with a vested interest to attend in Hebden Bridge and voice their objections. Am I being too unworldly or just thick. I await for the first just thick replies.

From Freddie M

Sunday, 27 November 2016

I think the only course of action now is if the residents of Waterside Fold look in their home insurance policies or similar for any legal help blocking this madness from encroaching on their private road and possibly using it to develop this unsafe proposal.

It seems all the odds are now stacked in the developer's favour with Mr Seaman (Planning officer) siding with this crazy plan. I wonder why.....?

I share the concerns of Chris above that this will be the end of the Little Park as there is no way the builders can use anywhere else to store materials as Waterside Fold will be needed for local residents' parking as there is no where else for them to park. Something Mr Seaman has completely glossed over in his recommendation.

Just for reference the retirement flats (massive thing sticking out of the Hebden skyline) took 18 months to build so the little park can expect a similar disruption.

Most people will probably be working when the proposed planning meeting takes place on the 6th Dec at 2pm, but I hope that the people that can attend make their feelings known very forcefully.

I also hope there is a legal way for Waterside Fold residents to stop this from taking place even if it gets passed which is looking increasingly likely even though most people can see it is a very poorly thought out development.

I feel very let down by the people involved in recommending this proposal, they should hang their heads in shame.

From Kez Armitage

Sunday, 27 November 2016

In the latest report to the committee, dated 25th November 2016, there is a comment, concerning the representations from members of the public, that "It is noted that only one objection has been received from properties on Waterside Fold"

I don't think there was any need to put this in. For a start, I don't believe that legally, there's an obligation to put greater weight on comments received from residents living close to a development. Are the Planning Officers implying that, had all the residents of Waterside Fold objected, then the application may well have been refused? What about the rest of us who may not live adjacent to the development but have the skills, knowledge and experience to raise valid and relevant concerns? Are our representations somehow 'second class' because we don't live nearby?

It looks like a desperate measure from a department clutching at every possible straw in a futile attempt to justify what is clearly a wrong decision.

But, whatever the case, the cynic in me says that public representations are just a minor irritation to the planning authorities. The planners are the ones who know the law. They're the ones who have been to college and have certificates in relevant disciplines. "Give the proles their say, but we know what we're going to do anyway" - that seems to be the motto of council planners. It will be interesting to see whether our Councillors agree with them on December 6th, or have the guts to stand up and say no.

From Chris Barnett

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Like Kez, I also found that comment about Waterside Fold rather strange. And I also agree that public objections, however valid, seem to count for very little in the planning process in Calderdale.

One problem we have (and this isn't a dig at any of our local councillors) is that most councillors don't have in depth knowledge or experience of planning law and procedures, and they have to accept what is fed to them by officers.

That's not a criticism of councillors, it's just the way the system works. I'm sure Dave and Ali will be doing their best at the Planning Committee, but I would urge them to not take everything they are told at face value.

I also think it is important that a representative of local residents and/or users of the playground attends and speaks on behalf of the public objectors.

From Freddie M

Monday, 28 November 2016

Another thing glossed over in the latest planning report on the portal is that there has been 5 objections from the next door neighbours to this development from Leedham court. The retirement complex next to the playground.

So I would say that mentioning there has only been one objection from waterside fold is misleading.

I am pretty sure of the remaining 26 objections remaining on the portal that many live near by the proposed development.

I might be free on the 6th at 2pm, should those disenfranchised with this decision like to propose a meeting about this somewhere in Hebden before it takes place so we can decide who is going to speak on the day?

Has anyone contacted the local MP's about this, they have been very quiet about this issue, do they even know about it?

From David D

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Planning has just approved the latest application for the bridge on the chairman's casting vote.

From Chris Barnett

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

As expected. So how are they going to build it without using the playground as a site compound?

From Kez Armitage

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

I'd love to know the bigger picture.

This development per se makes absolutely no sense. It's an awkward poky little site, with no proper access, and nothing to make anyone in their right mind want to live there.

Despite assurances to the contrary, I suspect the playground will be subsumed into the plan. Probably not immediately, and almost certainly in a gradual way.

But we simply don't know. And neither do our councillors, who are fed enough information by officers to keep them quiet, but not enough to put them in the aforesaid bigger picture.

This one's worth watching closely.

From Michael Prior

Thursday, 8 December 2016

The first thing to do is examine the conditions attached to the planning consent and to monitor what happens closely to see if (when?) they are breached.

I agree that there has always been something strange about the application particularly the way in which post-flood things such as the lack of any parking space and the flood risk of foot-bridge access were totally ignored by the planning officers.

Further to the above, all documentation can be found here.

So far as I can see on first glance, there are no conditions attached which relate to the construction phase though such matters as an 'otter ledge' are included. Where this leaves assurances about limited disturbance to the plan-park I really do not know.


HebWeb Forum Development next to Little Park

HebWeb Forum Closure of Little Park (October 2015 - Feb 2016)