Reject Calderdale's Local Plan

The reasons why the Clifton Neighbourhood Forum is leading the legal action

Thanks to CPRE West Yorkshire, we’ve kept in touch with community/campaigning groups and passionate individuals across Calderdale.

Through our connections, we know that there is significant concern around the Calderdale Local Plan throughout parts of the borough.

The Forum is taking the lead on the action simply because the Forum was already working with a large group of professional planning experts.

The Clifton Neighbourhood Forum has participated in the Calderdale Local Plan process since 2017. Our ambition is to create a sustainable and deliverable plan for Clifton Village.

We knew that this would be a large undertaking, and so we engaged professional planning, transport, air quality and legal experts right at the start. We receive no funding from Calderdale Council and have relied upon donations and fundraising to finance our work.

This page details why we have made the decision to fight the plan’s adoption, and how you can help us.

 

19 September 2023

High Court gives green light to Judicial Review of Calderdale Local Plan

On August 25, 2023, Deputy High Court Judge Karen Ridge granted permission to the Clifton Neighbourhood Forum’s request to challenge Calderdale Council’s Local Plan. This decision came after Calderdale Metropolitan Borough Council and the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing, and Communities both argued that the request should be denied.

The Forum’s request focused on three main issues, the first of which was that there are significant errors in the Calderdale Strategic Transport Model (CTSM).

The model is crucial to the Local Plan as it underpins the Council’s entire assessment of the impacts of, and therefore mitigations needed, for the development allocations it proposes. Its inaccuracies mean it substantially underestimates levels of existing and future traffic and is simply not robust.

The Judge ordered that the claim has permission to proceed to a full hearing because it is arguable that the Inspector’s Report does not adequately grapple with critical concerns around the CSTM.

A spokesperson for the Forum stated, “From the beginning, we believed that Calderdale ignored essential transport evidence. We participated in the process, brought in independent transport experts, and presented evidence explaining that despite what the flawed CSTM suggested, the reality of the transport and traffic situation is that the Calderdale highway and transport network cannot cope with the Local Plan proposals.”

One piece of evidence presented during the Local Plan Examination Hearings, which is entirely consistent with the Forum’s case, was a report from the West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA), which deemed a new £629,000 transport model necessary for Calderdale because the current CSTM “would not stand up to scrutiny in a public inquiry.”

The spokesperson thanked everyone in Calderdale who supported the legal action, highlighting the contributions of volunteers and donations, emphasising the importance of every contribution from across the Borough.

Before the court decision, Calderdale Council launched consultations on Masterplans and Supplementary policy documents for major allocations despite the pending High Court application. Now the Court has overruled the Council’s arguments against the Forum’s application and agreed there should be a full Hearing, the Forum urges Calderdale to suspend ongoing consultations until the High Court passes judgment. This is seen as a responsible move to avoid additional spending on projects that may be unproductive and a waste of public funds during these financially challenging times.

 

People wishing to donate towards the legal action can find out more at cliftonforum.org.uk/legal-action 

FORUM STATEMENT

Calderdale Council Garden Communities Masterplans and Design Codes consultation.

On Friday, 25 August 2023, Calderdale Council launched their consultation on the Thornhills and Woodhouse Garden Communities Masterplans and Design Codes.

We want to clarify the current situation with our legal action:

  • Papers were served on Calderdale Council (the defendant) and the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (an interested party) within the statutory timeframe for a legal challenge.
  • Both parties responded to the application, contesting our application for a High Court hearing.
  • The High Court has yet to issue its judgement.
 

The decision by Calderdale Council to launch this consultation does not mean they have won the legal action.

Whilst the legal action is ongoing, Calderdale Council is entitled to continue with consultations, so all parties must continue engaging in the process.

To help people participate in the consultation, we are working with our professional advisors to prepare guidance on the central issues and how to respond.

This webpage will be available by 15 September.

The consultation closes on Friday, 22 September.

28 June 2023

FORUM STATEMENT

Following Calderdale Council’s March decision to adopt their local plan, we (the Clifton Neighbourhood Forum, but with the support of other community groups) applied to the High Court seeking an order quashing the decision to adopt the Calderdale Local Plan.

Papers were served on Calderdale Council (the defendant) and the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (an interested party).

Both parties have now responded to the application, contesting our application for a High Court hearing, and we await the written Court judgement (expected within the next three months).

To fund the application, we launched a CrowdJustice appeal; we are grateful for every donation to support this legal action; thank you!

Once we know the outcome from the High Court, we will be in touch to explain the next steps and funding required for the next stage.

14 May 2023
Forum statement

Minimum funding achieved

By 17.09 today (Sunday, 14 May) the Forum had raised the minimum amount (£15,000) to fund this claim; the stretched target of £20,000 is achievable within the next nine days. Further fundraising will be required to finance any subsequent full Court hearing.

Current position

The legal papers were filed at the High Court on Friday, 28 April and served on Calderdale Council and the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities on 2 May. 

The claim seeks an order quashing the decision to adopt the Calderdale Local Plan. It provides several detailed grounds for the claim, including errors of fact within the Inspector’s Report on which the decision to adopt was based.

Both parties have 21 days from serving to respond to the claim to indicate whether they are conceding (i.e. agree that the decision to adopt the local plan should be quashed) or whether they intend to defend the claim. If they intend to defend, they will need to include their main arguments in their response.

If at least one party is defending the claim, then the matter will go before a Judge (on the papers only) to decide whether to grant permission for the claim to proceed to a full hearing.

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About Us

We’re a team of volunteers working on a sustainable and deliverable plan for Clifton Village. We have participated in the Calderdale Local Plan examination process as part of our work to create a neighbourhood plan.

YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED

what does the legal action cover?

The legal action covers all the Calderdale Local Plan area – it is not restricted to Clifton or Brighouse.

why is the forum LAUNCHINg the action?

The Forum already has access to planning, traffic, air quality and legal experts and their previous local plan work

How can I donate to the action?

We have established a CrowdJustice page – all funds raised will be paid directly to our solicitors. You can also donate directly to the Forum here

how much is required to fund the action?

We needed at least £15,000 to fund the action – .

what is the action?

Submitting an application for permission for a Judicial Review of the Calderdale Local Plan in the High Court.

what happens if permission is approved?

If the courts agree there is a case to answer, we need to raise more funds for the full court hearing.