The Conservative Group has called-in the Labour Cabinet’s decision to introduce a Main Modifications Consultation on its Local Plan, for further consideration by the Place Scrutiny Board.
The reason for the call-in is to review and ensure that the Main Modifications are fit for purpose. We believe that this item should be referred to Place Scrutiny to review the report in further detail, as there are many disputed items and concerns surrounding numerous potential housing sites. These are issues which include pressure on local infrastructure, services and the environment, and the great public concern which is being expressed about the Local Plan.
Additionally, information which has been requested at the Local Plan hearings has not been provided or has been withheld. We will also bring to the attention of the Place Scrutiny Board queries about the process which is being taken by the Council for the Consultation, and the procedures which they plan to follow. There are also issues regarding the length of the consultation period, and the likelihood of lower levels of public engagement due to the timeframe during the holiday period when they insist the consultation should take place.
Cllr Steven Leigh, Leader of the Conservative Group, said: “The Conservative Group has maintained its vociferous opposition to Labour’s Local Plan from the beginning – put simply, we do not believe this plan is fit for purpose. The Plan aims to deliver homes for up to four times as many people than is likely to be needed. The spatial distribution of housing will concentrate developments in Eastern Calderdale, primarily in Brighouse, Greetland, Hipperholme and Lightcliffe, Northowram and Shelf, and Rastrick. These communities are likely to suffer greatly from the number of houses which Labour's Plan wants to build.. There is a lack of infrastructure and services detailed in the Plan, and this is likely to create severe levels of congestion and consequently lead to a deterioration of air quality. The destruction of Green Belt is of particular concern, because this will hamper natural mitigation of carbon emissions. Additionally, some of the sites are unsuitable due to flooding concerns. Finally, this Local Plan does not deliver sufficient levels of affordable housing, which accounts for only around one quarter of the homes scheduled to be built.
The modifications are not satisfactory, and do not provide answers for residents, who are rightly worried about their quality of life. The consultation period is unrealistic and will not provide residents with sufficient time to feedback their views. Furthermore, the Council has not provided sufficient information concerning numerous other detailed aspects of the Local Plan. We hope that this call-in will lead to a meaningful outcome, and that the Labour Cabinet will provide the long-requested information ahead of any Consultation, reconsider the proposed processes and extend the length of the Consultation period.”