A 500-strong petition signed particularly by Brighouse residents expressing concern about Calderdale’s Local Plan has been presented to the council.

Ward councillor Scott Benton (Con, Brighouse) presented physical signatures at the full meeting of Calderdale Council last week, explaining that the online version brought the total up.

“More than 500 people have signed the petition against the current Local Plan.

“It has been signed by people across Calderdale but particularly from the Brighouse, Rastrick and Hipperholme areas,” he said.

Approved by the council last year, the Local Plan is currently undergoing scrutiny from the Planning Inspectorate which will hold hearings into parts of it deemed necessary later this year, likely through spring and summer, with councillors expected to vote on the final plans later in 2019.

It has been controversial, not least because of the amount of homes which might be placed in the Brighouse area, almost 4,000 of them in two Garden Suburbs at Thornhills and Woodhouse.

Coun Benton has always argued that the number of homes which might be planned for the Brighouse area was disproportionate, that there was insufficient infrastructure in place to cope and other parts of Calderdale which needed new homes might not get them.

Cabinet member for Planning, Housing and Environment, Coun Daniel Sutherland (Lab, Illingworth and Mixenden) last year said the plan was an exciting one which would allow Calderdale to maximise its potential, becoming a place where people would want to live, work and visit, with the Garden Suburbs “a fantastic opportunity”.

It balanced the need to provide potential sites for new homes with protecting Calderdale’s green belt, he said.

All councils are compelled by Government to produce a Local Plan which indicates where new homes and businesses may be developed over a 15-year period.

Taking into account housing developments which have already been approved, Calderdale as a whole will require enough sites to provide just under 9,500 new homes during that time.

Early hearing sessions are expected to address the duty to co-operate with other bodies and legal compliance, followed by sessions addressing strategic issues such as housing numbers and finally ones dealing with some specific site allocations and policies.