Inside the Council: On the road to riches, for some

Hipperholme cossroads.
Hipperholme cossroads.

My heart sank when I heard that Calderdale Council had been given £2.3 milllion from Central Government to reorganise Hipperholme traffic lights.

The reason given for this latest madcap scheme is the economic benefits of easing the traffic flow between Leeds and Halifax. On closer inspection this is utter twaddle. It’s really about money, not at all about benefits to the community.

The scheme will cost £3.5 million and will be partly funded by the developer (Clugstone/Strata Homes) who wishes to build 400 houses on South Edge quarry (on Brighouse Road opposite Crosslee). If it were about economic growth, this land is zoned as industrial use and is some of the last flat accessible land in Calderdale.

But it’s about money. The developer stands to make £15 million from 400 houses but this is not the end of the money tree. The council will get £3.2 million from the governments New Homes Bonus scheme (£8,000 per house) and the about £500,000 per year in council tax.

So Hipperholme faces its “library” moment, a scheme that will be hugely unpopular, that nobody thinks will make any difference other than huge disruption to the community, but which the council will push through because it has short term gains in its sights.

Consider the long term, if we add in the 150 houses under construction behind Crosslee, that’s 550 houses! 2,000 people, 1,000 cars, 1,000 children. Where will they all go to school? Where will the doctors be? Even after the lunatic reorganisation, will the crossroads stand another 1,000 cars?

Will the massive amounts of money made in this scheme be spent to benefit the community that it will severely disrupt. If not destroy?

Will it be spent sorting out the ratruns on Bramley Lane, Kirk Lane, Barfield Road, Priestley Green, Norwood Green, Northedge Lane, St Giles Road, KnowleTop Road, both during and after the re organisation? Will the community get a residents parking scheme, a new lift for the library, a delay in the implementation of parking charges, funding to finish the childrens play area on the Stray? Or even a real solution, a railway station?

Is it about investing in the future of our community or is it simply about greed?