An Englishman’s home is his castle, at least that’s what they used to say.
Calderdale haven’t built any castles, nor should they, but they haven’t been building enough homes either, which has left a lot of us out in the cold. Nationally, the Conservative Government has made housing the British people a top priority through Right to Buy, Help to Buy and the recent Help to Buy ISAs, helping us all to have a place to call our own. For those not ready to settle down or looking for something more flexible, we’ve incentivised existing homeowners to rent out spare rooms, we’ve provided additional finance to councils across the country to tackle rogue landlords and we are establishing a £140m fund to pave the way for more new housing. By their own yardstick as set out in Calderdale Council’s Housing Strategy 2012 -2017, the Council has failed to meet their own targets for new builds within the borough for each of the last five years, missing their target by 429 in 2012-13 (achieving only 55 per cent of target), 561 in 2013-14 (achieving only 41 per cent of target) and by 540 in 2014-15 (achieving only 43 per cent of target). Final figures for 2015/16 are due to be completed shortly. What we need is a good strong dose of local common sense. We have a mixture of well-built, sturdy Yorkshire stone mills and terraces, as well as beautiful unspoilt greenbelt. Why are we building houses on greenbelt towards the valley tops? Why are we spoiling our countryside? Why are we choking narrow rural lanes with cars from poorly planned and executed estates built on Greenbelt? Why? We can utilise old, abandoned or disused brownfield sites, which are often situated closer to the main roads in the valley bottoms. With sensible thought through planning and a logical, common sense approach we can take uncared for buildings that would otherwise be eye-sores and magnets for drug use, vandalism and other anti-social behaviour; give them a face lift and before you know it, local iconic buildings from our past and disused houses become chic young professional apartments, retirement flats or comfortable family homes.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of those people who voted for me in May’s Local Election. After a long campaign I was delighted to receive the support of so many local people and the real task of representing Brighouse has only just begun. I will hard for all of the residents within our community, regardless of who they voted for, and would like to take this opportunity to encourage any residents who require assistance with a local issue to contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org or 07948 546761.