Council Overspend Means More Cuts to Come


concept photo of wasted money pouring down the drain

News that Calderdale Council is projected to overspend its agreed budget by £5.3million means even more cuts in spending may be needed next year says Liberal Democrat Group Leader, Cllr James Baker (Warley).

“As if the state of local government finance wasn’t bad enough, this just makes things much worse” said Cllr Baker. “Even before taking this overspend into account, the Council was looking at having to cut its spending by £3million in the next financial year and £6million in the years after that. And that’s after increasing the Council Tax by nearly 2%, plus 3% for social care. These are the maximum increases allowed by the government, so spending is going to have to come down”.

“Every pound overspent this year means a further pound is going to have to be cut from next year’s budget in order to balance the books. That means a possible cut in council spending of £8million next year.”

“This is on top of the millions of pounds already cut from Council spending over recent years.”

“Of course, we don’t know what will be included in the Chancellor’s budget later this month. Things could improve, or they could get worse. With a weak government in place that is preoccupied with other matters, I’m not convinced that the financial position of local government is high on their agenda. It should be, though, because of the vital services it provides in every community.”

“Labour councillors wanted to lead Calderdale Council, so they are going to have to show some leadership and get this overspend down as well as making significant reductions in spending over the coming years” said Cllr Baker.

Local Plan – New Map of Housing Sites Now Available

On Monday the 19th June the Labour cabinet that runs Calderdale Council agreed to put the local plan out for a six week Consultation. The local plan will provide a framework for development up until 2032. The government requires the Council to find the spaces for 1,000s of new homes. If we don’t determine where they go locally the Government will step in and do it for us (The local Conservative group  position is that they would prefer the Government to determine where the new housing sites go). This Consultation was due to launch on Monday 10th July, but has been delayed as it has been called into scrutiny. It should however launch in the next couple of weeks.

As soon as the Consultation goes live it ought to be available on the Council’s Planning Consultation Portal. Residents will then have six weeks to let their views known on the plan and any of the housing sites contained with in. You can view the map of all the sites in Calderdale here –

In order to make it easier to see the sites in Warley Ward I have provided a couple clippings from the land allocation map below. I’ve also provided links to the sites, so that you can read the detailed review of each of them and how they have been RAG rated.

In terms of our comments on these proposals, we are pleased to see that a number of sites around Mount Tabor and Roils Head Moor have been taken out of the plans. We ran a campaign to protect the Greenbelt in locations like these and that campaign appears to have been successful. ~However we still have concerns about some of the sites down at Fountainhead Village notably sites LP1607 and LP0983.

Also looking at the plans it appears as if the cricket pitch in Warley Town is listed. Warley Town is a conservation area and the loss of its cricket pitch for housing would be a shame. We assume the club would be able to purchase a new pitch perhaps with the receipts from the sale of this land. There is also a site at the bottom of Paddock Lane which is currently part of the Golf Club. We again make the assumption that if this land were to be used for housing then the Golf Club would have to re-arrange their course, presumably with fewer holes. What do you think of these sites?

Our approach to the local plan will be to let people know about this consultation and encourage local residents to get involved and contact us if they have any further concerns about it.

It is worth considering that if we just oppose the plan outright as the Conservatives appear to be suggesting they might then the Government would step in and do it for us. This might actually lead to even more housing sites, the sites at Tabor and Roils Head going back in, and further loss of Greenbelt. We are minded therefore to try and engage constructively with this consultation, and then decide whether or not to back the plan based on the outcome of that consultation and the extent to which the Council has listened to local residents.


The details on site LP0418 & LP0417 are in:

The details on site LP0968 are in this document –


The details on site LP0983 and LP0984 are in this document –

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.