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Stubbing Car Park

From Kez Armitage

Tuesday, 5 January 2021

On Tuesday afternoon, the Council's Planning Committee voted unanimously to approve the proposed 61 space car park on Stubbing Holme Road.

It's most certainly the right decision for businesses in town, who have suffered from the 'triple whammy' of Covid, flooding and a disastrous lack of parking provision in Hebden. All three issues are now being addressed - let's just hope that our great little businesses can survive in the interim.

One of the arguments against the car park was that the land would be better used for housing. Whilst few people would deny that there is a desperate need for housing in the town, this quite simply is not the right place. 'Houses on stilts' is all well and good, but what developer would take on a site with such a reputation for flooding (and serious flooding - not just a bit of surface water), and what homeowners or tenants would want to risk living in such an uncertain area with such a notorious reputation? 

Of course time will tell. But sadly it will be many months before the car park is operational, as the area is going to be used by contractors working on Hebden's flood alleviation scheme for the forseeable future.

In the meanwhile, please do your best to support local businesses. They are the lifeblood of our community. 

From Anthony Rae

Wednesday, 6 January 2021

Just on the question of when the proposed Stubbing Holme Road car park might become available: after welcoming the decision of yesterday's planning committee to approve the application Kez then notes: 'But sadly it will be many months before the car park is operational'. When might that be?

If it's the case that the site is to be the works compound for the Environment Agency's flood alleviation scheme, then the most recent information from the Flooding Programme Board is that: "The main construction work for Hebden Bridge FAS is due to commence in summer 2021 [and] the scheme will now take approximately three years to construct", completing in summer 2024. Allowing for the usual overruns that would imply that a car park might be operational sometime in 2025. 

In view of that very long delay, you might wonder why nonetheless a planning application was  submitted as early as September 2020? We know that one reason is because the Council is rushing to secure business case approval for the A646 corridor improvement scheme from the the WY Combined Authority; but another I would suggest is that both Calderdale and WYCA are trying to get the CIP committed before the Combined Authority's review of the carbon consequences of its many road schemes finds that they're incompatible with the hugely challenging transport emissions reduction targets they face. So much for 'climate emergency'.

Part of what I said in my objector's statement to the planning committee was to point out that "there's already a 30+ space car park right next to the application site which is however not available for public parking because it's not charged. For the last decade I've suggested this be made available to support the shops on Market Street, but the Highways officers have consistently failed to act." Why is that a better option at this location?: because a smaller car park won't generate as many traffic movements and potentially overload the A646 junction; and, because it's on the right side of the river, then the problems with the narrow road bridge and its inadequate pavements are avoided.

Proceeding with this sensible approach would have brought improvements to parking provision at the western end of Hebden Bridge a long time ago, whereas yesterday's decision - wrong for so many other reasons, which I'll come back to - postpones that for years.

From Andy Mcfie

Wednesday, 6 January 2021

I'm broadly in favour of your view Anthony that homes are better than car parks. However, the 'free' car park you mention is the only safe place for Bridge Lanes residents to park adjacent to their properties. If this is turned over to visitor parking where are we pushed out to?

About 10 years ago there was a proposal to turn this into pay & display which was abandoned, possibly after some lobbying from locals around parking for residents.

I agree with you that the old Vale Centre site would suit housing rather than parking. 

It has flooded 3 times in the last 15 years due to the river breaching the wall on Stubbing Holme Road, but if the Flood Alleviation scheme are spending 3 years in Hebden you'd like to think all that time and effort would fix this. I know part of the plan is to raise the wall height along Stubbing Holme Rd.
Building homes to be flood resilient is possible...just ask the Dutch.

Access to Stubbing Holme Road is tricky already, and the bridge isn't in great condition. I know if I lived along Stubbing Holme Road i would be very concerned about an increase in traffic at this section of road/junction.

I also know it's been suggested to Calder Land Trust that this site would be a more suitable location for their affordable homes plan than the High Street/Bridge Lanes site they have proposed.

I guess the council have the final say as owners of the Vale Centre site.