Retirement village plan delayed

editorial image

Plans to build a major residential village in Hipperholme have been deferred over concerns about whether the complex can sustain the needs of its residents.

Blackshaw Holdings has proposed to develop the decade-long derelict Allen Works, Badger Lane, site into a retirement village comprising of 74 apartments, a 40-bed care home, community centre, shop, restaurant, swimming pool, gym, bowling green and allotments.

The Continuing Care Retirement Community would include two independent
living apartment blocks and three assisted living apartment buildings.

But the plans, which were previously rejected under Green Belt policy and resubmitted under new Government guidelines, received 32 letters of objection and councillors on Calderdale’s Council planning committee expressed concerns over the sustainability of the project.

The Leeds developer has assessed the independent living units as sheltered housing aimed at people aged 70 and above and made provisions for 57 car parking spaces.

Objector Coun Tim Swift (Lab, Park) said two thirds of journeys made by those aged 70 and above is in the car and questioned if proposed parking provisions were adequate.

The applicant said it would provide a private bus service for residents to frequent local facilities. Concerns were raised over whether the site, being about a mile away from the centre of Hipperholme village, was too remote for older people.

Issues around social isolation were raised. Coun Ali Miles (Lab, Calder) said she thought it would be more like “prison living” than community living.

Coun Faisal Shoukat (Lab, Park) said: “If the facilities are unsustainable there could be dire consequences for some people and their families which we, as the local authority, could not control.”

Concerns were raised about whether the transport service and retail facilities would be viable.

Committee chairman Coun Dan Sutherland (Lab, Illingworth and Mixenden), said: “My main concern is its long-term sustainability.”

The committee unanimously voted to defer the application on the basis of it needing additional information to make a decision.

Speaking after Tuesday’s meeting, Coun David Kirton (Con, Hipperholme and Lightcliffe), said: “It’s the wrong development in the wrong place - people would feel isolated.”

Speaking for objectors Sunny Vale Residents Association, John Warton said: “It was an encouraging debate.

“This site is a ‘stalking horse’ - someone’s spent money on it and now trying to get money back on the redundant site.”

Coun Graham Hall (Con, Hipperholme and Lightcliffe) said: “For everyone concerned, we want a fair and thorough investigation - that’s important for the applicant and objectors.”