Flooding – Helping to Volunteer.

People wishing to help make sure you have protective gear like waterproof gloves and trousers. Flood water is dangerous and full of diseases.

The Council’s official advice is that they are having a planning meeting to discuss volunteering today (see details below). This is woefully hopeless as People need help now. I spent all afternoon yesterday helping someone clear out their basement, and helping them with some food. There are countless people like this in need of help.

There is a Facebook group where people are organsing themselves to volunteer and help. This social media page is the best way to help people directly. Please please please be safe, wear protective gear, to avoid contact with flood water or flood water contaminated objects. Wash your hands before eating food afterwards etc – The facebook group is here. https://www.facebook.com/groups/cvcsg/

Rally points for Volunteers are – White Lee Park in Mytholmoryd, Central Methodist Church in Hebden Bridge and the Town Hall in Todmorden. If you are unable to volunteer please consider making a donation to the flood relief fund. – https://localgiving.com/appeal/Flooding

The Council’s official advice is listed below

Flooding FAQs

Where can I report instances of flooding or damage caused by flooding?

The Council has opened its Contact Centre for urgent issues and flooding reports. It will be open 24 hours on 01422 288001 between 9.30am-5.30pm and 01422 288000 outside of those hours.

At what point should I leave my home?

We advise residents to stay in their property and move upstairs if possible rather than leaving. If you do move upstairs, please inform the Council on the Contact Centre numbers above, so we’re aware of the worsening situation and can be ready to help. If you can’t leave the property safely please contact the emergency services on 999.

Is it safe to travel?

Travelling should be avoided. Driving through water is dangerous at the best of times and we have had reports of missing manholes hidden under the flood water and mud, making driving conditions especially treacherous. In addition, clear roads will make the recovery operation much quicker and easier for our dozen teams currently out cleaning up. If driving is unavoidable, please go slowly through surface water. Driving too quickly creates waves which can lead to more flooding.

What should I do if I can’t get to my home?

Please try to stay with friends or family if at all possible. If not, we have rest centres around the region at Ebenezer Centre Halifax Central, Northbridge Leisure Centre Halifax Central, Todmorden Town Hall and Hebden Bridge Town Hall. Homeless people should try to reach the Contact Centre, who will put them in touch with local homeless services.

Which roads are closed?

Here is a list of current road closures in the borough. Please see social media and check back on the website for updates.

North Dean Road, Copley – Closed after Copley Bridge collapse

Scout Road, Mytholmroyd – Closed due to landslide

New Road, Blackshaw Head – Closed near Stiperden Bank due to landslide in Lancashire

Footbridge between Bridge Lanes to Hebden Vale Centre, Hebden Bridge – Footbridge closed

Towpath East of Woodhouse Road, Todmorden – Canal towpath closed near Woodhouse Road

Footbridge between Hollins Mill Lane and playing fields, Sowerby Bridge – Footbridge closed

Stubbing Drive, Hebden Bridge – Road Bridge is damaged but is open

Can I volunteer to help?

We’re very grateful for all offers of help, but we need to make sure the response is coordinated safely so resources can be used where they are needed the most. The priority so far has been in dealing with the emergency situation, but as that improves we are turning our attention to the recovery effort and our fantastic volunteer support. On Monday 28th December a volunteer coordination and business support group will meet and form a plan and updates will be given through social media and the website.

I’d like to donate, what type of things are needed?

The situation in severe instances of flooding changes quickly, which makes money the best type of donation as it can be used wherever and however it’s required. The Community Foundation for Calderdale has set up a Just Giving (link is external) page.

Clean up materials such as shovels, brushes and protective clothing are always welcome and should be taken to our drop in points: Ebenezer Centre Halifax, Christ Church Sowerby Bridge, Best Practice Training Mytholmroyd, Hebden Bridge Town Hall and Todmorden Town Hall.

When will my power come back on?

Northern Power Grid has had significant issues across the northern region caused by flooding. In Calderdale we are aware of power loss to about 900 homes, affected by sub stations being underwater in some areas of the district. We are continuing to speak with Northern Power Grid for updates. Northern Power Grid has had difficulty with access although all roads should now be passable. Residents with online access can check their status here (link is external). Please don’t attempt to turn your power on until you’re sure it can be done safely.

Where can I dispose of flood damaged equipment?

The Council has sent a number of skips around the worst affected areas that people can use to dispose of damaged equipment. If you can’t access one, Council Waste Recycling Centres are open, except Hebden Bridge Waste & Recycling Centre which is currently closed for safety reasons (we will update this page and our twitter account when it reopens). Council will look to remove discarded and damaged items residents leave outside their homes as soon as possible and the items should be clearly marked as needing removal.

Are my family and I safe around flood water?

Flood water poses a number of threats to health and safety. See the Council’s guide for comprehensive advice.

What should I do regarding my insurance claim?
Contact your insurer as soon as possible. Try not to move damaged items, as your insurer may need to inspect them. If possible take photos or video damaged property to give to your insurer.

What can the Council supply to help residents with the clean up?

There are a limited supply of resources at our drop in centres at Ebenezer Centre Halifax, Christ Church Sowerby Bridge, Best Practice Training Mytholmroyd, Hebden Bridge Town Hall and Todmorden Town Hall.

Are bin collections running as normal?
Where possible we will keep to the rounds as advertised on the website.

My business has been flooded and I cannot trade. Can I get any support?
The Council is organising an assistance pack for business, to be announced shortly.

Where can I get water?
Please contact Yorkshire Water with any en
quiries relating to access to water.

Outrage over Council plans to build on green spaces


Calderdale Council has announced its consultation on the sites its planning to allocate for housing within the Ward. If the sites included in this consultation were to make it into the local plan we would lose almost every green space in the ward.

I’ve been working with Liberal Democrat campaigner Ashley Evans to launch major campaign to save and protect the green spaces within Warley ward. There are plenty of places that you could build in Calderdale that would not result in the loss of playing fields, recreation grounds and children’s play parks or allotments. It is unacceptable for the Labour run Council to list these sites as potential housing sites in the current consultation on the local plan.

To illustrate the sheer scale of what is being proposed here is a quick list of some of the sites identified in Warley ward:

Doctors Hill LP1459

Ling Bob Playing Fields Site reference LP0967 – To build 72 houses on the playing fields behind Harewood Avenue, Ling Royd and Rye Lane.

Fountainhead – LP0983 – Another 40 houses

Mount Tabor – LP1440 – 110 houses and LP0872 87 houses.

Pellon Allotments – LP0156 – To build 31 houses on site that is currently uses as allotments.

Roils Head Moor LP1374, LP1458, LP0093 – 97 Houses behind Vicar Park, another 32 by the Reservoir, and a further ‘urban expansion citing a residential capacity of 2862

Sandbeds Park LP1353 – 16 Houses on the Children’s play park.

Warley Town LP0042, LP1276 & more – Land on recreation ground, cricket pitch and Green Hill. 56 Houses on recreation ground, 30 on the Cricket Ground and 47 at Green Hill.

Windle Royd – LP1457 – Urban expansion with a population size of 1762 cited.

If you are as concerned about these plans please respond to the consultation and also sign the petition we have set-up to help protect Calderdale’s green spaces.

You can also help the campaign by downloading our petition on it and collecting signatures from your friends and family before returning it. ProtectGreenSpacesPetition


Warley Town is surrounded by new housing sites under the plan

A Development Board for every town in Calderdale ?

And what if local people don’t want one ? And what about the villages ?

At the Cabinet meeting on Monday, Labour decided to set up Development Boards in towns in Calderdale, having tried it out in Todmorden. They haven’t evaluated the one in Todmorden so they haven’t learned lessons from it. It has only recently had four non-Councillors become Board members and meetings aren’t open to the public. Minutes are sometimes slow to be published so people don’t know what’s going on.

Most places have some form of local community group which brings interested people together to talk about and plan services. Sometimes it’s through the Parish Council (as in Heptonstall and Blackshawhead), or a broader but formal Partnership (as in Hebden Bridge, Mytholmroyd and Elland). Invariably, the public are welcome to attend, participate in and contribute to the meetings. Labour cited the lack of such a group in Halifax (although I thought that there was a “town team” there) but this is no reason for imposing their model everywhere. They say it’s flexible but there seems to be no means of negotiating it. They don’t seem to be reviewing what there is already so there could be a real risk of duplication (and nobody quite knowing who’s doing what). Recipe for a muddle and a mess !

There seems to be no thought given to villages – and even where there’s no Parish Council or formal community group, there are usually things happening and their own, local version of a village plan which could evolve into a Neighbourhood Plan.

So while there is undoubtedly the germ of a good idea here, it needs more thinking through. But Labour took it straight to Cabinet and the discussion there almost turned into a Scrutiny Panel discussion – and that’s where we hope to take it !


Overgrown vegetation on Churn Lane

Following a few complaints about local residents concerning overgrowing vegetation on Churn Lane I contacted the Highways department. I’m pleased to say they have written to residents with regards to getting some of this vegetation cut back.
Thanks to those of you who live on Churn Lane for helping to cooperate with this, if we keep back any trees and vegetation we might have that overgrows onto paths, lanes and roads then it helps keep things running smoothly.
Further to your e mail regarding overhanging vegetation on Churn Lane 10/09/2015:

We e mailed you in September to let you know that residents had been written too regarding this matter and I can now confirm that we have had contact from two residents who will be beginning the process of clearing vegetation from property which they own, quotes are being obtained and works are being planned.  Second letters have been sent to properties which have not responded.

Our Enforcement Officer continues to monitor the situation.

Here is the news from Todmorden Town Council

Labour confirmed at tonight’s meeting that the Council won’t be producing any more newsletters… so how are local people to know what the Council is (or isn’t) doing ? They also won’t be publishing Councillor attendance on the Council website and there was fairly low attendance at tonight’s meeting (but it is half-term).

Regrettably, the Town Clerk has decided to resign with effect from April 2016 (after 16 years service) so an appointment panel has been set up but they will take the appointment decision (unlike higher-level Councils where the final decision of the appointment of a new Chief Executive is taken by full Council).

At last the Town Council is making progress with developing a Neighbourhood Plan but Labour decided that there will be no LibDem representation on the Steering group, although it’s good to see the inclusion of many community groups. There is some progress with the Council nominating Rose St as a community asset to Calderdale Council. The decision appears to have been delegated to the Development Committee at its meeting next week.


They shouldn’t be doing this !

For years, I’ve been concerned about developers trying to build on every bit of open land in Hebden Bridge. Whilst using previously developed “brownfield” sites to build the shops and employment space that we need, the Council (in giving planning permission) and developers do need to think about the impact on surrounding buildings and facilities.

A small plot of land, partly over the river, at the top end of Valley Road at the back of Hebden Bridge is a prime example of this. There was part of an old mill there but it’s now between a quiet cul-de-sac of houses, a children’s playground, and a new block of sheltered housing for older people. Not the place to build. That’s what we argued in the Planning Committee. The residents of the houses spoke out about the impact on them – the access will be through part of their road. I urged the developers to meet with them to work out the best deal both for the building period and so that the eventual occupiers become good neighbours.

And in Planning Committee, I expressed my concerns about the impact on the playground. Not a problem, said the developer. And then the next thing that I heard was from Council Officers asking for endorsement of plans they were agreeing with the developers to fence off part of the playground, remove equipment and pay what seemed to be a derisory sum of money in compensation – so the building work could begin. “It’s for Health and Safety” say the developer. Not good enough ! this shouldn’t be happening. The Little Park playground is a valued local service – parents, children and the Councils put a lot of time, thought, effort and money into renovating this important local service which is the only play area for most of the children in that part of Hebden Bridge, populated by terraced housing, much of which doesn’t even have a back yard ! The developers shouldn’t be doing this at all.

What to do next about child poverty in Calderdale ?

Really interesting workshop yesterday. One of those sessions that makes you go away thinking about it – a “wicked” problem requiring a “messy” solution but 8,595 children in Calderdale are not realising their potential. Various things are happening – notably we’ve had over £10m Pupil Premium since 2010 (and I’m proud to say that this is an achievement of Liberal Democrats in government) into Calderdale schools and we’re learning what has most impact on helping children’s attainment. Jim Davis from the Children’s Society told us that children are worried about “fitting in”, feeling that they belong just like any other child. So what can we do about it ?

Another busy week (and it’s only Wednesday)

just a few of the things that I’ve been doing so far this week …..

Markets Working Group: Whilst we had a productive meeting last week to finetune (I hope) the plans to move the market in Hebden Bridge, we had a meeting of the Calderdale Council markets group this week. What’s most important is getting the vision and the strategy in place to shape and guide what we want to do. Calderdale is a place of market towns (from Todmorden to Brighouse). While we’ve got to repair and update the market in Todmorden, we’ve also got to do some serious work to Borough market in Halifax which is a beautiful building whose potential is not realised to the full.

BEST group links local businesses with the Council: The new Principal of Calderdale College talked us through their emerging plans to develop the College in its important role of developing the skills primarily of our young people. There’s a seminar planned with UKTI, the government body that supports businesses wanting to export but an exciting piece of information was that 31 companies have benefitted so far from the Export support fund that we, the Liberal Democrats on Calderdale Council, set up through the Council’s budget.

Children and Young People’s Scrutiny Panel: It’s pleasing to hear that our children’s social care services are now improving to the point where it’s very likely that the Improvement Notice (issued by the government) will be lifted. That’s taken over 6 years of hard work (since the Conservatives ran the Council with Craig Whitaker as Lead Member for Children’s Services).


Bonfire & firework nights across Calderdale – 2015


As autumn sets in Halloween and Bonfire night are not along around the corner. I’m going to updating this page with a list of bonfire and firework nights across Calderdale as I become aware of them. If you have a bonfire night planned that you would like advertising please use the contact section of this website to let me know about it!

Saturday 31st October – 6.30pm – New Hobbit, Hob Lane, Halifax, West Yorkshire HX6 3QL – New Hobbit Bonfire and firework night

Thursday 5th November – 6.30pm – New Hobbit, Hob Lane, Halifax, West Yorkshire HX6 3QL – New Hobbit Bonfire and firework night

Friday 6th November – Todmorden Golf Club @TodGolfClub

Saturday, 7th November –  5.30pm – Hullenedge Park, Elland –  ELLAND ROUND TABLE CHARITY BONFIRE AND FIREWORK DISPLAY 2015

Saturday, 7th November – Fire lit at 7pm – Long Can Hall, Fountainhead Village, – Long Can Hall – Pub firework and bonfire evening

Sunday 9th November 2015– 6.30pm The Clubhouse, North Dean, Stainland Rd, Greetland, Halifax – The Heath and Heath RUFC


Remember – If you are attending or holding a bonfire night then please remember to think about safety. There is a really good website filled with safety advice here that you can look at




Todmorden Business Breakfast: another hotel for Tod ?

Well-attended and good to see so many local business/shop- people in Todmorden Town Hall early on a Wednesday morning. The big topic was a presentation by Calderdale Council’s tourism officer about the idea of a another/larger hotel in Todmorden. Establishing the need for this is critical to encourage interest from hotel companies. There’s about 100 bedspaces of various types (current small hotel, Band Bs, hostel and campsites etc) but without a sizeable hotel, we’re unlikely to get visitors, conferences etc on any scale. Undoubtedly there are potential sites around the town centre !