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Saturday, 22 January 2011

Plea to stop development in the Copley/Sowerby Bridge Valley

A member of the Calderdale Bird Conservation Group is right when he implies that not all development is bad. The duty of developers is to make places more beautiful, more useful to Society.

This area between Copley and Sowerby Bridge has been left too long to nature. It has now returned to a rural, sylvan state, a green lung for the people and a paradise for nature. The willows are the habitat of sweetly singing warblers when they return from Africa in spring, which nest on the ground among the orchids flowering in the sunny glades.

It should be maintained as a green space between Copley and Sowerby Bridge, not filled up with cheap buildings and tarmac, which would sprawl along the valley bottom, ruining the townscape of Sowerby Bridge, (when seen from Albert Promenade, for instance.)

The town currently nestles in its hollow at the confluence of the Ryburn with the Calder in an organic way. It should not be allowed to break out.
Too many small English towns with no perceived beauty or heritage have been blighted by ribbon developments like the one proposed by GenR8, who, unlike good developers, seem merely profit motivated.

This valley and the summarily closed bridleway, Sterne Bridge, have an internationally important literary connection with William Wordsworth, who, whilst visiting his friends, the Sterne family, wrote his poem the Ballad of Lucy Grey around an earlier bridge at this crossing point. The Sterne family also produced their own famous writer, Laurence Sterne.

It is for these reasons, as well as the preservation of a pleasant, sunny, flowery place filled with birdsong, that I support a refusal of the development. It will only harm trade in Sowerby Bridge’s developing tourist trade, and duplicate the surplus of industrial sheds which have long remained empty in several parts of Halifax. (Said to be 1 and a quarter million sq ft!) As for housing, I am reliably informed that Calderdale has already far exceeded its quota of new house building set by central government.

As to a point of freedom of access to public rights of way, there appears to be no engineer’s report on the carrying capacity of Sterne Bridge. Stephanie Hiscott, council officer (development) said she would let me see one by last Monday, and took my details, but has failed to get back. I believe it could be reopened to pedestrians, to use at their own risk. She also said the bridge closure was purely and simply about public safety, and nothing to do with the proposed developments; very hard to believe.


Linda said...

A well written piece Steve saying everything everyone is thinking. I'm wondering why, in this climate, they would want to build houses that won't sell and industrial units that won't fill because businesses are failing?

steve_e said...

Not all developments are bad. But this one is. It's an environmental, social and planning disaster, driven purely by profit.

If anyone representative of our community had been properly consulted, this plan would not have seen the light of day.

We have to fight it. Please join us.