Plan for 12,000 homes over next 15 years in Calderdale

A blueprint to build thousands of homes is set to be finalised after years of delays which saw a local authority handed written warnings by the Government.

Calderdale Council is set to approve the final draft of the district’s Local Plan, which sets out where more than 12,000 homes will be built between now and 2033.

Councils are required by the Government to draw up a Local Plan to identify land which can be used for housebuilding and economic development over the next 15 years.

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Last November, Calderdale was among local authorities threatened with government intervention following a lack of progress on its plan.

Sajid Javid, the former Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, issued a further warning in March in a letter to council leader Tim Swift.

He urged Calderdale Council to stick to an agreed timetable after a “persistent failure over many years to get a Local Plan in place”.

Now councillors are expected to approve the final draft after a publication date was agreed with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

Calderdale Council’s cabinet member for planning, housing and environment, Coun Daniel Sutherland, said: “The Local Plan will allow us to develop and grow whilst protecting and improving the landscape and heritage which we all enjoy, and which makes Calderdale so distinctive.

“It will help our entrepreneurial spirit thrive and help us to retain talent locally by supporting the creation of good quality and highly skilled employment within the borough.

“It will also help us to ensure that everyone has access to a decent home and that people are able to travel within and beyond the borough safely and easily.

“This is a Local Plan for our communities so we can plan for their needs now and for future generations.”

Calderdale Council needs to identify sites for about 12,600 new homes, averaging 840 properties per year until 2033.

A council spokesperson said: “Taking into account housing developments which have already been approved, Calderdale will actually require enough sites to provide just under 9,500 new homes.

“The proposed sites are now shown in the draft Local Plan, which allocates areas which are suitable for housing or economic growth, whilst at the same time protecting more than 99 per cent of Calderdale’s green belt and surrounding countryside from development.”

The Local Plan has already been through two public consultations, the most recent drawing more than 8,000 individual comments from people in the district last year.

The final draft of Calderdale’s plan will be discussed by the council’s cabinet on Monday next week, then at an extraordinary council meeting on June 21.

If approved by councillors, it will be published on August 10.

There will then be a six-week period for comments and representations to be made before the plan is submitted to the Government in December. It will then be examined by a planning inspector appointed by the Secretary of State for Housing, who is now James Brokenshire.

A report by the National Housing Federation (NHF) found that around 2,900 fewer new homes than were needed were built between 2012 and 2016 in Calderdale.

The average monthly rent in the district was £514, swallowing up 25 per cent of private renters’ income, the NHF said.