Calderdale Council leaders come under fire over Local Plan progress

The Government has criticised the lack of progress on the Calderdale Local Plan
The Government has criticised the lack of progress on the Calderdale Local Plan

Leaders at Calderdale Council have been heavily criticised over the development of its Local Plan which aims to build thousands of homes over the next few years.

The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Sajid Javid, has written to the Leader of Calderdale Council to state his concerns about the lack of progress that Calderdale has made on producing its Local Plan.

This week the Labour group in Calderdale which runs the Council said they are looking to reduce the number of houses to be built.

As well as stating his concerns about the lack of progress towards producing a Local Plan, the Secretary of State also commented that ‘in the 13 years that have passed since the 2004 Act was introduced your Council (Calderdale) has failed to meet the deadlines set out in that timetable’.

The letter concludes by requesting that Calderdale ‘outline any exceptional circumstances, by 31st January 2018, which, in your view, justify the failure of your Council to produce a Local Plan. In addition to this explanation, I would like to hear of any measures that the authority has taken, or intends to take, to accelerate plan publication’.

Councillor Scott Benton, Leader of the Calderdale Conservatives, said: "‘The draft Local Plan published by the Labour Council administration has caused great concern throughout the different communities of Calderdale.

"The Labour Party have clearly been taken aback by the scale of the opposition to their plans and instead of meeting their target of producing a Final Plan in December, they have announced that they are now kicking the issue down the road again until after the elections next summer.

"‘Labour’s first attempt at producing a draft Plan was a disaster. Instead of working with residents and other Councillors to produce a Plan that is fit for purpose they have delayed the process until after elections. This makes a mockery of our local democracy and demonstrates why Calderdale requires fresh leadership."

Calder Valley MP Craig Whittaker has also been critical of the way the development of the Local Plan has been developed.

"It is absolutely incredible that the Secretary of State has taken the quite unprecedented step of writing to the Council to state his concerns about the lack of progress in producing a plan," said Mr Whiitaker

"The truth is that Calderdale have had over six years to produce a plan that is fit for purpose and have made one excuse after another to avoid publishing a plan.

"Following the completely flawed draft Plan that they produced a few months ago and the negative public reaction to it, they are now looking to create yet another artificial delay."