Copley Valley

Copyright Mick Coughlan 2011

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The Campaign for the protection of Copley village and The Sowerby Bridge/Copley valley.
The Copley Village and Valley Environment Protection Community Action Group.
due to the impact the extra traffic will have on the roads.
Richard Ingram of Genr8 then began his address to the committee. Some members of the public present began to heckle as some of his statements were disputed, particularly the ones concerning environmental issues. The chair, Daniel Sutherland attempted to gain control but his inexperience shone through and the caution that hecklers were “spoiling it for everyone” drew guffaws of laughter and the threat to have a member of the public thrown out and then all the public thrown out were met with derision. He adjourned the meeting whilst things calmed down.
The Committee returned and the Genr8 representative finished his presentation and Councillors asked about  lack of Section 106 monies and affordable housing. The answer given was that the scheme was very finely balanced financially and further demands for S10 monies would make the scheme un-viable.

All through the meeting Calderdale’s Development Officer, Richard Seaman was whispering in the chairman’s ear. When it came time for the Planning Committee to debate the proposal things became very weird.

Coun. Goldthorpe proposed a motion to reject the application on the grounds of the massive impact the extra traffic generated from the scheme would add to the roads and the increased risk to pedestrians that would entail.
None of the Committee would second this motion.

Eventually Coun. Coombs proposed a motion to defer the decision in order to give the Highways Department time to re-look at the traffic issues and come up with mitigation or a solution. To his great credit the guy from the Highways Department re-iterated that they had looked at the impact and could not support it.

Clearly Coun.Coombs had her answer. She had concerns regarding the traffic impact that could not be solved and therefore the correct next step for her was to second Coun.Golthorpe’s motion to reject the application.

Instead a very agitated Coun.Coombs said that “She felt like she was being blackmailed into approving the application and she did not know what to do”.

Development Officer, Richard Seaman then said to the Committee that they recommended that they accept the proposal. Coun.Coombs (the blackmailed one) then caved in and proposed the application was accepted to much shock in the public gallery.

The Chair asked for someone to second the motion. No second was forthcoming. Richard Seaman again whispered in the Chair’s ear and the chair seconded the motion. Councillor’s Pallai, Peel and Thornber voted for it - the only Councillor with the courage of her convictions and in my opinion the only one deserving of the
title Councillor, Councillor Goldthorpe, voted against it.

Uproar ensued from the public present. Shouts of “fix” and “you should all be ashamed of yourselves” were aimed at the committee. It was clear to all present that the Planning Committee had not actually made the decision but the decision had been made by un-elected council officers.

This was a bad day for democracy in  Calderdale. It has been our opinion for some time that the council officers had been pushing this scheme on the residents of Calderdale. That the council officers had appointed a development partener, therefore it was council officers that had been the applicant, and now the final insult to correct procedure - the council officers made the decision to approve their own application.

Councillor Coombs (The Blackmailed one) was seen sweating profusely as she left the Town Hall, pursued by a council officer who then attempted to calm her down at the bottom of the road. Clearly this Councillor had been put under immense pressure from someone or some Dept.


The Campaign group are now considering their next step -If you have any suggestions or would like to contribute to our discussions then