I walk my dog most every day, one of the routes I take is up the mad mile, along Jay House Lane, through Thornhill and back into Clifton.
This walk is a real pleasure. I watch the seasons go by in all weathers.
As I look across the Calder Valley with its verdant fields, my mind starts to imagine what this would look like if the local authority gets its way and puts 2,000 additional homes to create “Clifton Garden Village”.
No longer would I be looking out at green fields with their pastoral calm and solidity. I would see houses and over to the left an enterprise park with offices and factories. Oh where, then, will there be the wildlife and hedge rows full of blossom?
It’s interesting how planners use terms like garden village and park to mask their intention to despoil our environment. Do they think they can lull us into a false sense of security by using such terms?
The thing is, they say we need to build houses to accommodate a growing population, which is true.
However, what they fail to tell us is that out of 16,000 dwellings they intend to build in the Calder Valley, 6,000 are proposed to be built in Brighouse, 2,000 of which will be mostly on greenbelt around Clifton, creating euphemistically a garden village. This seems to me to be a disproportionate amount of development in and around Brighouse compared with the rest of the local authority area.
The local authority have written a strategic plan. Now, this is an interesting document.
A strategic plan is supposed to give a vision of the future. When I read it, all I could see was a series of proposals.
The vision was vague and opaque, an absence of detail.
The plan does not address first and foremost the real infrastructure problems we will have to contend with in Brighouse if the plan is implemented. Just imagine trying to drive in and out of the town if we have an additional 6,000 homes. It’s fun now, “The M25 comes to Brighouse” (good title for a horror film), the road to hell!
If it happens I am going to set up a business selling pollution masks - I will make a fortune.
Not to mention schools, doctors and hospitals to cope with the increase in population.
The strategic plan does not deal with when the infrastructure will be improved to cope, or for that matter who is going to pay for it. Well at least I can go for a walk tomorrow and still enjoy the countryside, but for how long?
If the local authority’s plans come to fruition, the development will start in 2019.
So, I had better make the most of my tranquil walks in the countryside, before the bulldozers disrupt my harmony and yours as well.
Change is inevitable and yes we have to build to accommodate our burgeoning population, but at what cost?
However, we the citizens of Calderdale invest our hard earned cash employing our servants in the local authority to effectively look after our interests.
The question to the planners is why do you think this strategic plan looks after the interests of your people in Brighouse?
Think again and let’s have proportionate development across the whole of the local authority and maximise the benefits for everyone.