“Huddersfield is the third happiest town in the country” according to a recent Sunday Times!
York is second and surprisingly Carlisle is first. All have one theme in common, I quote “there are lots of green spaces”!
The commercial director of Rightmove says the study shows that people’s perception of the attractiveness of an area goes beyond the strength of the Housing market and other purely financial considerations.
So is Huddersfield’s happiness to be compromised by the need for affordable housing and economic development?
The LDF core strategy proposed by Kirklees Council has recommended that 42 hectares of Green Belt land, unhelpfully referred to as “Cooper Bridge”, an area that makes Huddersfield residents happy, is to be allocated for “Industrial development” thus, not only undervaluing the people of Huddersfield’s happiness, but also removing a significant part of the open space that people value.
Those appreciating local history and heritage and a beautiful natural landscape, or just exercising their dog together with the local residents of Battyeford, Roberttown and Hartshead have much to lose.
Whilst there is a need for affordable housing and appropriate land allocated for development, these decisions need to be made based upon sound evidence; without this we gamble with local rate payer’s money and in the current economic climate we can ill afford costly mistakes. “If we build it they will come” is an unsound model in this volatile economic climate.
I ask the question: are we being lulled into false optimism by both councillors and developers in our efforts to finance industrial development on Green Belt in the current economic climate? What we can achieve by careful planning and managing resources wisely is to firstly make use of designated brownfield land and a limited amount of green field sites for “affordable jobs” still attracting developers, whilst maintaining our quality of life and open spaces.
Is this option not worthy of consideration? A plan possibly that bit more difficult, but that keeps “Huddersfield Happy” and also provides an affordable strategy for future employment, prosperity and local economic recovery.
Martin Race says “Keep Huddersfield Happy”