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Sadly, recent council decisions on the direction of the Local Plan are going significantly in the wrong direction for Shelf and Northowram. It seems that employment growth and the linked growth in housing numbers is becoming a key factor in the direction that the LP takes.

As posted at the end of July, the inspector gave the council two options on employment growth –

1. Reduce the anticipated jobs growth to align with the lower housing numbers (840 houses per year) OR

2. INCREASE the number of houses to meet the anticipated jobs growth. Following a review of the employment strategy by consultants (Turley) and despite overwhelming national and local evidence to the contrary, the council decided on 14th Oct to go for the second option, much higher housing numbers. The figure chosen is 997 houses per year over the 15-year life of the plan, this will mean an extra 2355 houses to be built, the new total being 14955. This means another 524 houses proposed in our villages ON TOP OF the 600 houses already proposed. EVERY SINGLE ON OF THEM IS ON GREEN BELT and on the open, green spaces in and around our villages. Of the total allocation for S&N – **97% are on green belt**. Can you believe, this has been put forward as a SUSTAINABLE option to save Green Belt in the borough. The impact of the proposed changes is as follows:- Northowram gets an ADDITIONAL 225 houses (on top of 75 in the previous version) Shelf gets an ADDITIONAL 299 houses (on top of 525 in the previous version).

The sites coming BACK IN are: Northowram – LP0766, Land between Upper Lane and Hall Lane (174 houses) LP1523, Land at Westercroft Lane (51 houses), opposite the cricket ground. Shelf – LP1034, Land off Soaper Lane (71 houses) LP1035, Land at 30 Burned Road (34 houses) LP1036, Land at Shelf Cricket Ground (75 houses) LP1037, Land of Burned Road (32 houses) LP1044, Hud Hill farm (87 houses) Members of the SNLPF committee met with Ward Cllrs back in Sept in anticipation of just such a decision as this and secured a promise to have the cabinet decision ‘called-in’ for scrutiny. This has now happened and the scrutiny panel meets in early Nov (date to be confirmed). However, with a majority of panel members from the Labour group, we don’t hold out much hope of having the decision overturned. If the decision is upheld then the plan will be revised and there will be another 6-week public consultation taking place towards the end of the year. All of this has delayed Stage 2 of the public hearing which is not expected to start until Jan/Feb 2020, this will be confirmed in due course. In the meantime, the SNLPF committee will be meeting to decide our commenting strategy, which is likely to be similar to that in 2017, where we provide suggestions to residents on how they might comment on the various parts of the revised plan. Note that ONLY the revised sections of the plan will be up for consultation, anything unchanged cannot be commented on again.

So, this will be your LAST CHANCE to have your say and we urge you all to dust off your laptops/computers and hone your computer skills so you’re ready. Feel free to pass this message on to anyone who may be interested/affected.

Brian Crossley – Ward Forum 2nd December at Heywood Church lower meeting room. 5.30pm for 6pm start.

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