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50 Green Belt sites earmarked for development in Calderdale

Sunday, 19 March 2023

Friends of the Earth have described the Local Plan as 'a disaster for Calderdale'.

Join the protest against Calderdale Council's 'disastrous' Local Plan
Wednesday 22nd March at 5-6pm. Outside Halifax Town Hall

50 Green Belt sites in Calderdale have been earmarked for house-building based on "completely inaccurate estimates of population growth!"

The Local Plan also "flies in the face of the Climate Action Plan."

The Cabinet has approved the Plan and it will be agreed by full Council on 22nd March.

The Plan estimates that between 2018 and the 2030s, Calderdale's population will increase by 19,320, requiring 10,318 jobs to be created and 14,950 new homes to be built. These numbers are referred to as 'targets'.

Friends of the Earth prepared a detailed briefing setting out why it thinks the Plan has reached completely the wrong conclusions. It was sent to all councillors last weekend. Yesterday, Friends of the Earth circulated to them an infographic about one of the plan's most controversial aspects: that all the greenbelt land due to be allocated to housing and employment development should be removed from protection immediately in 2023 when in fact only a small proportion of them would be developed before the first statutory review of the plan, starting in 2027. Most of the greenbelt sites would not be used until late 2020s through to 2036. Both of these documents are available to download on the Green Calderdale website.

However, Green campaigner Finn Jenson argues that "the 'targets, are hugely inflated because they are based on inaccurate modelling and were not disclosed for consultation (as the law requires).

"The figure for population ignores the reality that Calderdale's population has effectively stopped growing, whilst the working age population (and employment) is falling. But the house-building targets, based on these numbers, have been used to justify the ear-marking of 50 Green-Belt sites ready for construction - the equivalent of 520 football pitches.

"Last December the Government announced its intention to abandon compulsory housing targets for local pans and said that Green Belt boundaries should not be changed if that is the only way of achieving a council's housing target.

"Since most Green Belt sites are not well served by public transport, the Local Plan is also based on increasing road capacity – another factor which will increase carbon emissions.

"It's unlikely that any of the three 'targets', and their claimed economic benefits, will be achieved. And the Plan doesn't even tackle

"Calderdale's real housing problems: lack of affordability, and a failure to prioritise sustainable locations. Meanwhile the environmental damage caused by the immediate loss of Green Belt' protected status will be permanent,

"Join us as we raise our voices to protest against this Plan which will seriously degrade our environment and keep carbon emissions rocketing in Calderdale."

See also: Green Calderdale