UDP report - as relevant to Hebden Bridge

Here are some points taken from the Report of an Inquiry into the Revised Draft Replacement Calderdale Unitary Development Plan, available March 2006


The Government Inspector has agreed with Calderdale MBC that the land to the rear of Linden Mill should be designated as open space rather than Primary Housing Area. This in spite of an objection from the owner/developers of the land who wish to build pre-fabricated eco-housing there. The Inspector has said that "the land forms an attractive area of open space within a built up area. It makes a positive contribution to the Conservation Area." The Inspector adds that "there is sufficient land within the plan to meet the authority's housing requirements. The third of three applications made by the 30/45 Group is currently under consideration by Calderdale MBC. All three applications have been rejected by Hebden Royd Town Council

Thanks to Roger Hiam for the above


Main Issue:
Whether the notation should be changed to green belt.


  • In the adopted plan the objection site is shown as open space within the urban area-amenity land. In the initial deposit plan it is depicted as green belt. This was changed at the reviewed deposit stage back to open space. PPG2 says that when local plans are revised detail green belt boundaries should be revised only exceptionally. As part of the UDP process the Council have undertaken a localised review of green belt boundaries. A circumstance which they consider justifies a change is where undeveloped land has been included in the urban area, but clearly has more in common with the open green belt.

  • Along the valley bottom the western side of the river is designated green belt. It is open land on which there are recreational facilities and allotments. On the eastern side of the river the banks are more natural and rural in character. It seems to me that, in this situation, it is illogical to subject the river banks to different policy backgrounds. They both appear to be part of the open countryside and relate well to the wider open area. As such they help fulfil purposes of the green belt in that they prevent settlements from merging by safeguarding the undeveloped areas from encroachment, and preserve the setting of Hebden Bridge.

  • I appreciate that the southern end of the site was formerly a millpond, and whilst some structures still remain, it has nevertheless over the passage of time become part of the wider undeveloped area. Recent tree felling may have changed the appearance of the land but even so it remains open. And openness is the key characteristic of green belt land. Moreover even if I were to conclude that the site was brownfield, it does not necessarily follow that it should be included within the urban area.

  • In the light of these findings I conclude that the circumstances are exceptional and they justify a change to the green belt boundary. In reaching this conclusion I have taken account of the view that there is a need for additional housing land in Hebden Bridge, but the figures produced by the Council indicate that the housing requirement set at regional level has already been met. And whilst I understand the land owner's desire to fund essential repair works by development, I do not, in principle, consider that to be a good reason to permit development on land whether it be subject to green belt or open space policies. If an application for development was submitted the Council would at that time have to determine whether the circumstances were special enough to overcome the objectives of UDP policies.


11.110.7 I recommend the plan be modified by the deletion of the land shown as open space on MAP 122 and its inclusion in the green belt.

Thanks to Anthony Rae for alerting us to the above

Report in full

Please let us know if you have comments or points which should be included with this item.

Linden Mill Bank on the Hebweb

Millpond on the Hebweb

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