Councillors have approved £4 million in loan funding to Calderdale’s new Local Development Company in order to get it moving.

At the full meeting of Calderdale Council they agreed the sum, to be funded by prudential borrowing, should be put in the authority’s Capital Programme, with the LDC paying it back over a four-and-a-half year period.

Previously Cabinet had noted the LDC’s indicative business plan, agreed to deliver homes in line with the Local Plan and agreed in principle the sale of council land to the company, which is initially expected to deliver about 50 new homes with the first three schemes being planned for sites in Sowerby Bridge, Brighouse and Todmorden.

The LDC, limited by shares, will be owned by the council and has a cross-party shareholder committee.

But the opposition Conservative group had some issues with the business case presented and how money for the loan was to be raised.

Conservative Leader Coun Scott Benton (Brighouse) said his group supported the idea of a Local Development Company and every councillor knew Calderdale needed houses, including social housing.

It was a case of how and where that housing was delivered and making sure infrastructure was in place going forward.

This issue was merely about the business case and a substantial amount of money would be funded by prudential borrowing.

“Members will be aware of my concerns about the debt of this council and the fact we seem all too happy to add to our debt,” he said.

No allowances being made for inflation was another issue, said Coun Benton.

“The fact this business case does not counter for that is a big concern.

“Although assumptions are made about business rates, prices and so on, it could mean it quickly runs out of money and unable to service the debt to the council,” he said.

Coun Geraldine Carter (Con, Ryburn) said she remained concerned about how any potential conflict between the development company and Council and Cabinet in the future might be dealt with.

But Coun Jane Scullion (Lab, Luddenden Foot) said she was disappointed in the opposition because Government was currently relying on councils to build homes again.

“We are talking about a five-year period of fixed rates of funding with the intention of getting income from this,” she said.

“So we have income coming in for our budget and some affordable housing that we will literally be able to build up. It’s a win-win situation.”

Coun Daniel Sutherland (Lab, Illingworth and Mixenden), Cabinet member for Planning, Housing & Environment, said he had heard a lot of criticism about the council’s delivery of housing and had said the authority needed to tools to do it.

“This is one of the tools we will have, one of the ways we can deliver new housing. It’s a big opportunity,” he said.

Coun Mike Payne (Con, Sowerby Bridge) said his group supported the LDC and the objectives it was trying to achieve, but he also had concerns about choice of some sites. In the case of Sowerby Bridge, subject to Air Quality issues, to use open space did not seem to be very sensible, he said.