Liberal Democrats call for green spaces to be protected


As Calderdale Council launches its consultation on the proposals for allocating land for future house-building in Calderdale, Calderdale Liberal Democrats are launching a campaign to protect greenbelt around towns and villages, and open spaces within towns and villages.

Cllr James Baker said:

“We are really concerned about some areas of land apparently marked for potential house-building sites all across Calderdale”. In my own ward, it looks as though the Council is proposing that houses be built on playing fields, parks and allotments, as well as around villages in the open countryside where road access is poor”.

Leader of the Liberal Democrat group, Cllr Janet Battye added: “

We know that there is a need to build more affordable housing and social housing, but we think that the Council should look first at existing planning permissions – some 3,000 houses with permission have not yet been built – and then brownfield land which has already been built on, as well as pressing harder to bring empty buildings into use.”

“It’s also disappointing that more imaginative approaches don’t seem to be being considered, such as looking at how we might use the Garden Cities approach in Calderdale.

“We’re encouraging local people to look very carefully at these land allocation plans on which the Council is currently consulting and make their views known.”

There is a need for local affordable housing and more social housing, but expensive houses build in desirable greenbelt areas will not help struggling families looking to buy a home or move to a less crowded home. Alternative developments on brownfield sites will not only be cost-efficient, but also energy-efficient as they will minimise the need to travel. We can create local communities without compromising green spaces.

You can sign our petition calling on the Council to protect greenbelt around towns and villages, and open spaces within towns and villages here.

You can view the consultation and make comments on it here

Picture attribution to Pam Wright – (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0). Our use does not suggest or imply the artists endorsement. 

Should this land be used as a caravan and campsite?


There is growing disquiet in Old Town and Wadsworth at the prospect of the old Acre Mill asbestos factory site being used as a small caravan and campsite. The owner of part of the site, opposite the old “Automobilia” car museum, now converted into houses, has applied to the Camping and Caravanning Club for it to become a certificated “small” site for up to 5 caravans and 10 tents, with basic services such as a water supply and facilities for disposing of waste from chemical toilets.

“I have every sympathy with their concerns” says local Calderdale Councillor Janet Battye (Liberal Democrat, Calder ward) “I’ve spoken to the Camping and Caravanning Club who have visited the site. I’m really surprised that there’s any possibility of this happening. Although it apparently doesn’t need planning permission, there may well be Environmental Health concerns about any use being made of this site other than for grazing. People are still suffering the effects of the asbestos works and it’s at least insensitive to make such a use of this site.

“There is also the problem of access. It is not sensible to encourage caravans to come up to Old Town, either along Heights Road, or up Birchcliffe Road and trying to get round the corner of Mount Skip, or make the turn at Pecket Bar off the Keighley Road. And access directly onto the site isn’t easy either.

“This area is also liable to flood: one of the main serious flooding episodes in 2012 was nearby and local residents report frequent water run-off from the proposed site into neighbouring houses.

“I’m writing to the Camping and Caravanning Club urging them not to go ahead with this. I hope that Calderdale Council and the Parish Council share these views and will take similar action”

– Councillor Janet Battye

Welcome to Neighbourhood Plans

Local Town and Parish Councils in the upper Calder Valley have now agreed to start drawing up Neighbourhood Plans. Todmorden Town Council is setting up a steering group drawing in local expertise, and Hebden Royd Town Council is working in partnership with the surrounding Parish Councils. This will give local people real power in planning the future of their area.

Although it will take time to do, there will be the opportunity for local people to participate and a requirement to involve them, not least through a referendum.

Neighbourhood plans will be linked to Calderdale Council’s Local Plan, which will ensure that what local people want has to be considered in future planning applications.

Central Halifax and Park Ward are also taking steps to devise their Neighbourhood Plan. Perhaps the rest of Calderdale should follow.


– Councillor Janet Battye