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Victoria Road Flats development

From Mo Ludlam

Thursday, 7 July 2022

Several flats from this development are currently being advertised for sale through Ewe Move. The photos with the advertising indicate a large breech in the riverside wall. This wall protects the top end of the town from flooding. I didn't think that they had planning permission to do this. 

From Catherine Willis

Friday, 8 July 2022

Access to the block of flats currently being built is to be from Waterside Fold. The Little Park lies between the flats and Victoria Road and there is just a pathway agreed for building access to the site from Victoria Road down the side of Leedham Court. 

Originally the approved plan was for pedestrian access via a modest foot bridge, but somehow this has morphed into a bridge that allows for cars. The first preparations for the bridge seem to be underway; some of the trees etc. growing in the river wall have been removed.

The builders have screened off part of the little park to use for storing bricks and other materials; I don't know whether the council gave permission for this. 

From Freddie B

Saturday, 9 July 2022

As far as I can see going off the planning portal the builders have no permission for covering the river with a car park (As the current adverts on Rightmove show) as the original plans only allowed a footbridge crossing the river.

Can our councillors please look at what is happening to this development post haste. It seems the builder is just doing whatever they please such as shutting little park off without proper warning to nearby residents. All very troubling!

Maybe they think it is a good time to just plough ahead regardless of what they are actually entitled to build. Who knows?

From Cllr Sarah Courtney

Saturday, 9 July 2022

As local councillors my colleagues Dave, Josh and I are in conversation with officers in Calderdale about this. I've not been told, but am assuming the park has been closed temporarily as the barriers that the builders have put up have been pulled down and the site is not safe for people to use. 

As far as we can gather the builders haven't spoken to anyone at the council recently, and the builder does not have any permission to use any part of the park.

In November 2018 the council was prepared to proceed in line with the terms, agreed with the previous developer, whereby the developer would agree to all of the health and safety measures CMBC required, agree a Licence and pay fees for the period of the licence as well as legal and surveyors fees.

From the last email we had, the officer we've been in correspondence with hadn't been to site, but from the photos they could see that developer wasn't complying with any of the health and safety measures the council required.

In addition, CMBC were advised in the Nov 2018 site meeting that the developer didn't require access through the playground and therefore the playground could remain open during the works and would only close for a temporary period, whilst the builders initially erected and then ultimately removed the fencing. The council also asked that this was to be completed as quickly as possible and at a time when the playground was not being used and as this hasn't been agreed the officer didn't know the builders were using the playground until councillors and residents had alerted him to the fact.

We are also looking at the planning around the bridge over the river and the river wall. 

From Chris Smith

Saturday, 9 July 2022

This is exactly why these discussion boards and social media are so dangerous. 

Because you didn't find the correct planning permission, you decide to announce that the project is going ahead unlawfully. 

There are 2 planning permissions active and extant. One with a footbridge and one with a parking deck.

We have not closed the park. We have no idea why it is padlocked either . I do know there is a tree that came down behind our fencing in February's storms so maybe the council are preparing to fell that properly.

People seem to forget whist complaining about the project that we are building on a mill site that was occupied for 150+ years. Did you complain when it was a mill? 

If you do not redevelop old used sites that is when councils start eating into green belt land for development. 

The park will not be affected by the apartment project nor do we require access through it. 

Would anyone care to know that we agreed that we would actually put some money back into the park? To repaint the railings, to replace any rotten wood where ever possible. That's not gossip worthy news I guess. 

From Chris Barnett

Saturday, 9 July 2022

This wretched development has been rumbling along for years, and I think most people were hoping the latest owner had given it up as a bad job. Obviously not.

The big problem at the moment is that Calderdale (particularly the planning department) are so understaffed and demoralised that it is unlikely that they will take appropriate action quickly - planning enforcement notices need to be issued and followed up if the conditions of the approval are not adhered to, and I worry that this isn't happening.

I'm not sure who is responsible for the Little Park, but they need to ensure that the developer is not taking liberties with a well used public space. Has anyone contacted HSE regarding issues of safety?

From Ian Collus

Saturday, 9 July 2022

I understand developers want to use derelict land but despite some comments on here, I haven't seen any assurances about potential flood risks by removing part of the wall. If it has been thought of, fair enough, but if it hasn't why not? A simple explanation from the developers would suffice.

From Freddie B

Saturday, 9 July 2022

Chris Smith, kindly link us to the car park planning permission which has been granted.

From Chris Barnett

Saturday, 9 July 2022

Perhaps Chris Smith could give us, to avoid further confusion and misunderstandings, the reference numbers of the two 'active and extant' planning approvals. We can then properly assess whether or not the development is being carried out in accordance with either of these approvals.

With regard to closing all or part of the playground, I am puzzled as to where the scaffolding will be erected for the elevation next to the playground, and how it will be accessed - perhaps Chris Smith could enlighten us?

From Mo Ludlam

Sunday, 10 July 2022

My understanding is that rivers are owned by the landowners on either side of the river. The landowner owns up to half way across the river from their side. So, Chris Smith perhaps you could tell us whether you have permission from the owner of the other half of the river to have your car park right across it.

Your comments regarding social media is both defensive and unhelpful. Facts as to your planning permission and river ownership would be more informative. 

Moreover, the risk of flooding from the top of town is of real concern to the residents of the area. They have a right to know whether their housing is at increased risk because of this development. You make no reference to this. 

From Chris Barnett

Sunday, 10 July 2022

 I've looked into the planning history of this site, and Chris Smith is correct: there are two approved schemes for 8 flats on this piece of land. 15/00301/FUL, which has a parking deck was approved 17.7.2015 and 16/00781/FUL, which has no parking and a pedestrian bridge, was approved 7.12.2016.

The first scheme was approved before the Boxing Day 2015 floods, and the revised scheme was a response to the fact that the original scheme was now unworkable. So the assumption is that the revised scheme with the footbridge is the one that's being built - although the original scheme technically still has planning approval, only a fool would try to build it (or buy one of the flats).

Hopefully this clarifies the planning situation, but there are still (and always have been) questions about how the construction of this development will affect the playground (scaffolding, access, safety issues etc.). Perhaps the developer and Calderdale will confirm what arrangements have been made.

From Freddie B

Monday, 11 July 2022

Thanks Chris, yes so the car park was removed and replaced by a foot bridge because the carpark was classed as a flood hazard in consultation with the environment agency, local councillors and local residents, so the question is now has all that been scrapped and are we back to the original approved pre Boxing Day flood approved car park deck plans?

Let's remember the flood water was at the top of the river wall (which will be cut into) which was hurtling through the river on Boxing Day 2015 taking trees and other flotsam with it as the original dilapidated deck made a dam in the centre of the river. Maybe something that potential buyers should keep in mind, mind you they could always drive their car a few towns away when the flood sirens start to go off!

Also to be pedantic but it does stipulate on the latest planning approval that those plans need to be executed 3 years from 2018 on one of the supporting documents. Looks like the works are out of time unless they commenced last year?

From Charles Nicholson

Monday, 11 July 2022

The marketing photos for this project still show a large car park over the river.

From Chris Barnett

Monday, 11 July 2022

With regard to Freddie's point about the planning approval timing out, I believe that works were started (not much done, but you only need to make a nominal start) before the approval expired.

I'm not an expert on planning law, and I'm really not sure about the legal status of the first approval (with car deck): it's possible that it is still legal and valid, but obviously building that scheme would be a nonsense in the light of what happened on 26.12.2015.

We need to know which scheme the developer is proposing to build - if it is the car deck option, then somebody (our local councillors) needs to be speaking to Calderdale planners and the Environment Agency as a matter of urgency.

I'm hoping that Chris Smith is following this discussion and will clarify exactly what the developer is proposing.

From Paul M

Monday, 18 July 2022

An open letter to our lovely councillors, Sarah, Dave and Josh. Nothing to do with the builders! 

Dear Councillors, for crying out loud, will you please find out and tell us WHY the little park is still closed!

I'm sorry, but I do not accept "we are in conversation" with colleagues at the council That's akin to political speech along the lines of Sir Humphrey's "under active consideration" or "currently being researched" or "we are working hard to....etc ." Forgive me.... but that is not an answer from our elected representatives.

Somebody at the "council" must know who authorised this, who issued the "works chitty" to some worker to be despatched armed with chain and padlocks. WHY has there been no letter headed/laminated/yellow council notice explaining, you are quick enough to post them when parking is restricted or roads closed, why not explain to us, your residents, why this most valuable and well used facility has been withdrawn?

It is about to be the start of the school hols, if it really is some obscure H&S issue, why has it not been attended to? Councillors, will you please do the work we elected you for and find the answers at least..... please . 

From Chris Barnett

Monday, 18 July 2022

Or perhaps it is something to do with the builders..... not saying they have closed the playground, but the closure may possibly have something to do with the ongoing building works. 

Nobody seems to have answered my question (posed several times over the past few years) about where the scaffolding for the back walls is going to go - or how access to it will be arranged. 

Simple question, waiting for a simple answer.....

From Dorothy A

Tuesday, 19 July 2022

I have read all of the published information, regarding the Development on Victoria Road and the proposed bridge parking lot. This is a horrible idea, encouraging facilities for car parking. More and more larger vehicles have taken over too much of Hebden Bridge presently.

Closing the children's playground for development purposes should not be allowed. I pass by there daily and over the bridge. When I and in Hebden Bridge I am at 50 Lees Road.

Please reconsider ordinances, zoning rules, etc., and stop this parking wish on the part of non-caring developers, and demand the children's park renovation be a part of the flats development.

From Cllr Dave Young

Thursday, 21 July 2022

Hi Paul M, I have just read your posting on HebWeb. The reason the Little Park is temporary closed at present is because it failed its monthly Health & Safety check.

Some of the safety surfaces have risen up and need to be repaired. Calderdale Council contacted their Contractors who laid down the safety surfaces in the first place and they are coming out to repair them asap. They were meant to come out this Monday & Tuesday but the weather was too hot. Let's hope they will be back asap and undertake the necessary repairs. Then our Little Park can be reopened for the enjoyment of our younger generation.

From Lawrence Fennelly

Wednesday, 27 July 2022

Scaffolders are currently putting up a platform on the far side of the river. It is the length of the whole footprint of the new building, so I presume it is there to enable work on the wide parking platform, rather than simply a footbridge. 

From Joe D

Wednesday, 27 July 2022

Now the builders are parking their vehicles on the Little Park.

From Andrew Beck

Friday, 29 July 2022

It is a remarkable coincidence that the park has been closed for health and safety reasons unrelated to the building development next to it at the same time that it is convenient to the developers who appear to have use of the park as a builders yard and car park.

It is a real shame that nearby families, many of whom don't have gardens, and who have small children for whom the park is an important resource in the school holidays, don't seem to have their interests well represented by our local authority staff or elected councillors.

From Chris Barnett

Friday, 29 July 2022

A remarkable coincidence indeed. I'm not a betting man, but I'm tempted to put a tenner on the Little Park being shut for the rest of the year (or even longer).

From Cllr Dave Young

Friday, 29 July 2022

Hi All,
Just to clarify the situation. The Vehicles that have been parked in the Little Park this week are the Vehicles of the Contractor who have been repairing the safety surfaces and not the builders who are building the apartments nearby.

From Chris Barnett

Saturday, 30 July 2022

Cllr Young says that the vehicles parked in the playground belong to the playground contractors and not the developers. 

But could he please explain the basis on which the developers have been given use of the sloping grassed area of the playground for their site compound (Portaloo, materials storage etc.). I assume they are paying a commercial rent for the use of this space? Perhaps Cllr Young could clarify this.

I'm still confused about where the scaffolding will go for the rear elevation of the new development - the building is right up against the park boundary, so surely the scaffolding will have to be built in the playground (with presumably a further buffer zone to ensure the safety of children using what's left of the playground). How will this affect use of the play equipment in that part of the playground? 

Could I ask (again) for someone to explain how this is going to work, and how it fits with the statement from the developer that 'The park will not be affected by the apartment project nor do we require access through it'.

From V Uttley

Saturday, 30 July 2022

Maybe a bit of a light at the end of the tunnel. The railings are being painted in lovely bright colours, ready I'm sure for a grand re-opening within the next week or two. Such a shame they had to do resurfacing work in the school holidays. 

From Catherine Willis

Monday, 8 August 2022

The play park is certainly looking much better for its repainting, but I've never seen an answer to the question whether the builders have been given the right to commandeer the grassed area.  If they have permission who gave it?

Has permission been given for a further area of the park to be used for scaffolding etc.?

Today more work has been done making holes in the top of the river wall on Waterside Fold, giving an idea of the extent of the bridge/platform to be erected.  

I'm sure Councillors are fed up with questions about this project, but there does seem to be an element of fishiness about it.

Catherine Willis.

From Peggy Thomas

Wednesday, 10 August 2022

We get a good view of this project from our flat in Leedham Court.  It's clear that the insulation used is not up to what is required by 2022 legislation.  It's thinner than insulation I have seen in other buildings made several years ago.  I suspect that, if challenged, the builder would say the project had been started years ago.  

This is how those who don't care about the environment, or the well-being of those who will iive in the new flats, evade their responsibilities.  It's unfortunate that we have so few inspectors, so that those who flout the regs get away with it.  

Peggy Thomas