In a comprehensive planning update, Calderdale Council has disclosed significant advancements in initiatives aimed at delivering new residences, enhancing local transportation networks, fostering job creation, and safeguarding historical landmarks and open spaces.

Released on Friday, December 22, 2023, the Annual Monitoring Report (AMR) serves as a testament to the efficacy of the Council’s planning policies in realizing its vision for sustainable development, ultimately aiming to enhance the quality of life across Calderdale.

Covering the period from April 1, 2022, to March 31, 2023, this report marks the first since 2017/18 due to the Local Plan examination. It is poised to become the principal metric for gauging the success of the Local Plan.

The Council, mandated by legal obligations, monitors specific aspects of planning performance, utilizing the AMR as a tool to identify areas where policies may require adjustment or replacement if found ineffective.

Housing, a pivotal component aligning with the Council’s objectives of reducing inequalities, fostering vibrant communities, and addressing climate concerns, has witnessed commendable progress. Key highlights from the AMR include:

– Planning permission was granted for 23 sites earmarked for housing in the Local Plan, with an additional 18 pending applications.
– Delivery of 106 affordable homes in the fiscal year 2022/23, constituting over 30% of total completions, providing increased housing options amid escalating living costs.
– Development of nearly 600 sq m of new homes within town centres, supporting the Council’s endeavour to rejuvenate high streets and cultivate lively urban spaces.
– Completion of over 2000 sq m of employment floor space in 2022/23, contributing to a cumulative total of 67,000 sq m (exceeding six hectares) since 2018/19.

The report also sheds light on progress in major transportation projects that are enhancing Calderdale’s connectivity. Substantial investments from the West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s West Yorkshire-plus Transport Fund are facilitating transformative initiatives along routes such as the A629 and A641.

These transport developments prioritize pedestrians, cyclists, and public transport users, not only aiding in addressing the climate crisis but also improving accessibility for work and leisure, thereby boosting the local economy.

Preserving Calderdale’s distinctive heritage remains a pivotal commitment for the Council. The AMR highlights instances of successful integration of old and new, including:

– The state-of-the-art Halifax Bus Station, seamlessly incorporates modern travel amenities while preserving historic listed structures.
– Renovations at Old Town Mill and Melbourne Mill in Hebden Bridge and Old Lane Mill in Halifax, converting historic mills into contemporary residences, small business units, a café, and gardens at Old Town Mill.

Cllr Tim Swift, Calderdale Council’s Deputy Leader, said; “2023 has been a landmark year for planning, with the adoption of our Local Plan in March. Although the Annual Monitoring Report mainly covers the period before adoption, the Local Plan policies had considerable weight in decision-making throughout 2022/23.

“The report shows how we’re building a better Calderdale for everyone – delivering quality new homes that people can afford, transport improvements that connect people to opportunities and help our towns and places to thrive, and sites that make the most of our unique local heritage and protect our natural environment.

“We are pleased with the progress made on sustainable development for inclusive economic growth, and will use the Local Plan to drive forward our ambitions and any improvements needed.”

For those interested in a detailed review, the Annual Monitoring Report is accessible on the Council’s website at [](