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Shape the future of the Valley Road Town Centre site

Thursday, 28 April 2016

Thanks to Bob Deacon of the Hebden Bridge Partnership for this item

The Hebden Bridge Partnership, the town body that is an umbrella organisation for about 40 community organisations, is pleased that the Neighbourhood Planning Process is now providing the town with the opportunity to begin to shape the future of the Old Fire Station site and adjacent land.

Sainsburys Plans rejected

Now that Sainsburys have finally lost interest in the site (the site owners having had all their appeals against planning refusal rejected) the opportunity exists within this planning process to think imaginatively about the site, the neighbouring CMBC car park site and possibly the under used BT site.

In the HB Partnership's Vision 20/20 document, produced with a town consultation in 2013, it noted that "with the proposed relocation of the market, it might be possible to design an integrated holistic project which would use all the land between Hangingroyd Lane and Valley Road in a much more imaginative way".

Neighbourhood Plan

Nothing could be progressed while we had to wait out the final outcome of the Sainsbury appeal process. However the Hebden Bridge Partnership did ensure in 2014 that the site was nominated for consideration within the Calderdale "Local" Plan noting that "A strategic planning opportunity exists to develop a vibrant, mixed use, extension of the town centre". It was that nomination which lead to its consideration now within the context of the devolved Neighbourhood Planning process. At the same time discussions with CMBC have indicated a willingness in principle on the part of the existing council to work towards a holistic redevelopment. It is believed that the Fire Station site owners too are willing to engage in this conversation.

So the Neighbourhood Plan presents an opportunity for local people to start to influence what type of development should be encouraged, and alternatively discouraged, on the extended Valley Road site because, once the Neighbourhood Planning committee have received the results of the public consultation, and prepared a draft Position Statement for the Valley Road site, then that document will begin to have 'weight' in the consideration of any future planning application.

Have your say - online or at the Town Hall

Responses will be sought at the Town Hall and on line to a series of general questions, of the type: 'Should the development of the site feature housing or not?', and similarly for other types of uses such as retail, employment uses, parking, open space etc.' Specific detailed plans are not being sought at this stage. The consultation will begin at the Town Hall drop-in event on Saturday 30th between 10 and 2 and also be online from Saturday at www.hebdenhilltopplan.co.uk until the end of May. Information about other consultation events etc can be found here.

The Hebden Bridge Partnership established in 2015 a Task Team to investigate what might be commercially viable and socially useful options for the site. At the next HBP Board meeting on May 9th recommendations from that Team for possible best uses of the site will be considered. Subsequently the Partnership, taking account of the results of the May Neighbourhood Planning Consultation, will seek to work with the Fire Station site owners, CMBC, and possibly BT to develop more specific proposals for town consideration.