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How many new houses for Hebden Royd?

From Anthony Rae

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Last night I attended the Community Land Trust’s So what's all this about a Housing Crisis? public meeting. But if we need more housing here how will it be provided, because as it turns out the same day Calderdale published the final version of their Local Plan which contains - as you can see here - just two new housing sites in both Hebden Bridge and Mytholmroyd (one of which is arguably unsuitable): so maybe 20+ new houses in the next 15 years! The overall logic behind the Local Plan’s intention to severely restrict the amount of new development in the Upper Calder Valley is understandable but, still, what about local need?

Fortunately we will soon have a mechanism to respond to this dilemma, should we wish, As you can read here, the new neighbourhood plan for our area - there isn’t one at the moment; it’s being newly created for the first time - is reaching the stage where it will shortly go out for public consultation. (I’m writing this as a member of the neighbourhood planning committee). And just to be clear: in fact it covers the larger area of Hebden Royd (so including Mytholmroyd) and the upland parishes of Blackshaw Head, Erringden, Heptonstall and Wadsworth; and will set locally specific policies for the period through to 2032.

The public meeting (on Monday 11th June 7-9pm in the Waterfront Hall, Hebden Bridge Town Hall) will inform you about the process and timetable for the public consultation over the summer period - when you’ll be able to have your say about the plan’s proposals - and the main issues the draft will cover. With this information you’ll be able to start thinking about what things you’d like to see and check that the neighbourhood plan has included them.

So what are those issues? First of all, yes, some proposals for more housing: but how many are needed, where should they be located, and what sort of new housing do we need? Linked to this is the sort of choice that many towns have to face about scarce development sites: should they be used for housing or parking? This question will no doubt be keenly debated in the public consultation, against the background of Calderdale’s support for more sustainable transport policies, pressures on the A646, and the need to tackle air pollution.

Then the neighbourhood plan needs to recognise that there are a number of different economic and employment sectors in the area - manufacturing, services, retail, tourism, cultural/digital, agricultural and community - all of which need support (to the extent that that’s possible): but what should that be? The large NP area, covering both valley-bottom towns and upland and moorland parishes, includes a tremendous amount of heritage (both landscape and historic) which needs to be protected. That same landscape also plays a vital part in future proofing the settlements against flooding. How can the plan and its policies work positively in these areas?

And there’ll be much more (including a whole new masterplan for Mytholmroyd, making sure that it will play an equally strong role alongside Hebden Bridge). To find out more about the neighbourhood plan public consultation, do come along to the public meeting; but maybe you already have some views on these many important issues? Including new housing!