Calderdale Council has spent £327,000 on empty offices at Dean Clough.


Calderdale Council moved out of the offices it was leasing at Dean Clough two years ago, but is still paying £163,500 per year for the space. That means that the Council has paid out nearly one-third of a million pounds for something that is of no benefit for the people of Calderdale.

As the lease has over six years still to run, a further million pounds could well be wasted in the same way. Clearly the Council needs to take action to reduce this wasteful spending or, hopefully, get rid of it altogether.

This also calls into question the wisdom of the Council in entering into long leases that it can’t easily get out of.

Even if the Council’s coffers were overflowing with cash, this would be an unacceptable waste of public money. In these difficult times it is even more intolerable.

The tax-payers of Calderdale and the Council staff who are at risk of losing their jobs over the coming years would be right to be appalled by this wasteful use of scarce resources.

What will Labour’s Council budget mean for you?

Tonight was Calderdale Council’s budget setting meeting, and I thought you might like to have a run down of what the budget will mean to you as a resident living in Warley ward. I’m trying to keep this article factual, you can read our political statement that we made here. The Liberal Democrats group did not support Labour’s budget, or the Conservative group’s amendment. Labour’s budget passed on the night as Labour are the biggest party on the Council, and we did not want to support the Conservative’s amendments.

Changes in Council tax 

There will be a social care precept levied of 2% a year. This increase is largely to pay for the cost of introducing the living wage for our contractors who provide social care services for the Council. Additionally there will be a 1.95% Council tax increase, this will be used to create a flood recovery fund. The new Council tax bills, which include the Police, Environment Agency and Fire Authority precepts will be as follows (in areas such as Warley ward without parish Councils).

New Council tax bands

Band A –  £1,004.35

Band B – £ 1,171.74

Band C –  £1,339.12

Band D – £1,506.51

Band E – £1,841.28

Band F – £2,176.07

Band G – £2,510.86

Band H – £3,013.02

Growth proposals and savings proposals

The full list is below, you will notice the only growth in revenue spending is on social services. This is largely to take into account changing demographics and the cost of paying staff the living wage. In terms of cuts/savings of note is the extra £1 million a year to be raised from charging people more for Council services, and the million pounds that will be taken out of children’s services. In addition to this revenue spending a one of fund of £3 million will be created for flood recovery work.





Liberal Democrat Group Statement on Calderdale Council’s Budget

Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, Cllr Janet Battye (Calder) says: “The Council finds itself in a difficult position as the Conservative government has failed to provide enough funding for flood recovery and has also reduced the government grant the Council is getting. Although we appreciate the challenges the administration has in drawing up a budget in these difficult circumstances we won’t be supporting either the Labour or Conservative budget proposals.

“Locally, the Conservative’s budget proposals to withhold staff sick pay for three days would penalise people who are genuinely ill and result in them coming in whilst sick and spreading diseases. They claim that parking is a ‘basic right’ and we must keep parking charges low whilst proposing to increase charges elsewhere, such as the bulky waste collection fee.

“Labour proposed that everyone ought to pay more Council tax to cover the cost of the flooding. We don’t think it’s fair that people on a low income in Calderdale will have to pay more because people elsewhere in the Borough got flooded. The cost of the flooding should be borne by central government and fair taxation systems where the richest pay most, not local Council tax payers.

“If the Liberal Democrats were running Calderdale Council we would implement a host of energy efficiencies such as switching to LED Street lighting, and improving the energy efficiency of Council buildings. We also think the Council could share more back office functions by moving Council staff and services into community hubs that were shared with other organisations. This could free up funds to invest in resurfacing our roads, gritting services and initiatives to ensuring our streets are free of litter and dog fouling.”

Do you have a question you would like me to ask at Council?

At every meeting of Calderdale Council Councillors such as myself get to ask questions to the portfolio holders of the cabinet. Currently the cabinet of Calderdale Council is all made up of Labour Councillors as they are running the Council. If you have a question that you would like me to ask on your behalf please email me to let me know. I will then post up all the questions asked the responses I have been given back up on this website for you.

Outrage over Council plans to build on green spaces


Calderdale Council has announced its consultation on the sites its planning to allocate for housing within the Ward. If the sites included in this consultation were to make it into the local plan we would lose almost every green space in the ward.

I’ve been working with Liberal Democrat campaigner Ashley Evans to launch major campaign to save and protect the green spaces within Warley ward. There are plenty of places that you could build in Calderdale that would not result in the loss of playing fields, recreation grounds and children’s play parks or allotments. It is unacceptable for the Labour run Council to list these sites as potential housing sites in the current consultation on the local plan.

To illustrate the sheer scale of what is being proposed here is a quick list of some of the sites identified in Warley ward:

Doctors Hill LP1459

Ling Bob Playing Fields Site reference LP0967 – To build 72 houses on the playing fields behind Harewood Avenue, Ling Royd and Rye Lane.

Fountainhead – LP0983 – Another 40 houses

Mount Tabor – LP1440 – 110 houses and LP0872 87 houses.

Pellon Allotments – LP0156 – To build 31 houses on site that is currently uses as allotments.

Roils Head Moor LP1374, LP1458, LP0093 – 97 Houses behind Vicar Park, another 32 by the Reservoir, and a further ‘urban expansion citing a residential capacity of 2862

Sandbeds Park LP1353 – 16 Houses on the Children’s play park.

Warley Town LP0042, LP1276 & more – Land on recreation ground, cricket pitch and Green Hill. 56 Houses on recreation ground, 30 on the Cricket Ground and 47 at Green Hill.

Windle Royd – LP1457 – Urban expansion with a population size of 1762 cited.

If you are as concerned about these plans please respond to the consultation and also sign the petition we have set-up to help protect Calderdale’s green spaces.

You can also help the campaign by downloading our petition on it and collecting signatures from your friends and family before returning it. ProtectGreenSpacesPetition


Warley Town is surrounded by new housing sites under the plan

Warley Ward Forum – Wednesday 2nd December 2015

Meeting description: Ward Forum meetings are attended by local ward councillors and local officers, and are your chance to have your say about issues that matter in your neighbourhood.

Date: Wednesday 2nd December 2015
Venue: Asquith Court. Sandhall Green. Pellon. Halifax.
Time: 6.30pm for a 7pm start.

Agenda item

1. Welcome and introductions.
2. Minutes and updates.
3. CMBC Planning Officer – Presentation on Development Plan.
4. Police Update
5. CMBC Budget Consultation Update
6. WF Grants Review
7. Open Forum – Your Issues
8. Group Updates
9. AOB
10. Next Meeting; 7pm Wednesday 2nd March 2015 venue TBC.

Overgrown vegetation on Churn Lane

Following a few complaints about local residents concerning overgrowing vegetation on Churn Lane I contacted the Highways department. I’m pleased to say they have written to residents with regards to getting some of this vegetation cut back.
Thanks to those of you who live on Churn Lane for helping to cooperate with this, if we keep back any trees and vegetation we might have that overgrows onto paths, lanes and roads then it helps keep things running smoothly.
Further to your e mail regarding overhanging vegetation on Churn Lane 10/09/2015:

We e mailed you in September to let you know that residents had been written too regarding this matter and I can now confirm that we have had contact from two residents who will be beginning the process of clearing vegetation from property which they own, quotes are being obtained and works are being planned.  Second letters have been sent to properties which have not responded.

Our Enforcement Officer continues to monitor the situation.

Syrian Refugees – Britain can do more, say Lib Dems

Child Detention

I’m very pleased to say that the Council backed a Liberal Democrat motion calling on the government to do more to aid people fleeing for their lives from Syria.

We’re not talking here about the wider problem of people trying to get to Europe from North Africa, but specifically about Syrians displaced by the conflict in their own country; those understandably in fear of their lives, caught between the actions of their government on the one hand and a barbaric cult on the other. Britain is a relatively rich nation and we believe that the government could do more, and that the council should play its part in giving people a warm welcome here. Taking people directly from the refugee camps around the Syrian borders will not encourage the people traffickers so much in evidence elsewhere.

The Council debate brought out the best and the worst in people. The Labour group admitted that they had considered tabling a motion on this subject, but shied away from it, fearing the response from the Conservative group. We, however, are proud to be saying that this country needs to be doing more to show compassion for those experiencing such dreadful hardships.

New Planning Applications for Warley Ward


Below is a list of all planning applications validated between 15 Aug – 15 September for Warley ward. You can click on the link to comment on any of them through the Council’s planning portal.

Council turns down Christmas cash boost for Warley ward


The Economic task force on Calderdale Council established a grant scheme of £1,000 for each ward in Calderdale to boost Christmas trading. Last year I put together a project to offer small grants to local pubs for Christmas lights and decorations. As there isn’t really any high street or a collection of shops in the ward this seemed on way of being able to help our local businesses. In other wards with a town centre like Sowerby Bridge it might have been a bit more easy to come up with a scheme, say a brass band by the market and a Christmas lights switch on.

This year the requirements of the scheme changed, and applications had to come from local community groups. That meant I wasn’t just able to think up a scheme myself and get it implemented as a Councillor. This new requirement has proved to be a bit problematic for our ward as none of the community groups really have a remit to promote the local economy. For instance the Addy Community group is now a registered charity, and promoting local businesses isn’t part of its charitable objectives. Nevertheless the Mount Tabor Community Caring Association was able to put in a small bid for some of that £1000 for some leaflets to advertise the local store, and a small amount for improving their Christmas tree lights.

Unfortunately the Council has turned down the initial bid, and said it could only be approved with an additional requirement that other businesses across the ward were being promoted. Subsequently the Mount Tabor Community Caring Association has turned down the grant, as it’s not in a position to fulfil these additional requirements. I have some sympathy as to why that is as the community association in Mount Tabor is setup to cover Mount Tabor. It would be quite a job going to get together a host of adverts from businesses across the ward and pull these together into a leaflet.

The way the funding has been set-up creates quite a problem for Warley ward as we don’t have a single community group that covers the whole area, and whose remit is promoting the local economy. It wouldn’t be a problem if you were in a ward with a town centre, with a traders association, or even a strip of shops. Unless a community group comes forward ASAP with a project that promotes the local economy across the whole ward the money won’t be coming to Warley.