INFRASTRUCTURE concerns, including about roads and schools, fuelled debate about the sustainability of a new 1,250 home village near Brighouse at a hearing yesterday.

The Woodhouse Garden Suburb proposals were being discussed at the ongoing hearings into Calderdale’s draft Local Plan.

Inspector Katie Child said the garden suburb was a large site to the south of Brighouse and there had been a significant number of representations and a lot of concerns from local residents who had got together to form Woodhouse Residents Association.

Access to the site would be off Ryecroft Lane and off Woodhouse Gardens, with two early phases of development, with promoters Redrow marketing the 300-home phase of home building off Ryecroft Lane, said the council’s planning lead, Richard Seaman.

The second phase, homes built off Woodhouse Gardens, will include about 200 homes.

WRA’s Carol French Deol said: “We have concern about how our existing roads will be expected to cope with the volume of traffic and we really believe the infrastructure needs to be there up front.”

Brian Crossley, of the Shelf and Northowram Local Plan Forum, said there were too many instances of issues being sorted out “later”.

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“They are leaving so much to the planning application stage – this needs to be sorted out before it is allocated because it will be there forever. Residents will be left with these problems,” he said.

Unavailability of some parcels of land intended for access were raised by the Inspector, but Mr Seaman said the council did have compulsory purchase powers if negotiations proved unfruitful.

On infrastructure provision, Anthony Rae, of Calderdale Friends of the Earth, said the council had failed to provide evidence about negative impacts of this scale of development in terms of traffic generation, air pollution and increased carbon figures.

“The proposed concentration of housing in south east Calderdale, without adequate supporting infrastructure will result in ‘blowing up’ Brighouse in transport and traffic terms,” he said.

Mr Seaman responded: “We have an understanding of what infrastructure needs to be provided, when it needs to be provided and how that would be funded.”

Council officers said the relevant interventions would be in place by December 2025, ahead of the key trigger date of 2026-27 when they would be needed as more of the homes were built. Schools would be delivered by 2024-25.

Financial receipts from developers would not come in at a rate at which development was deliverable so the council would need to prudentially borrow some money to bridge the gap until they arrived, said Mr Seaman.

Resident Jason Carlton said these “cash flow” issues were a concern, raising issues of liability, and he questioned the scheme’s sustainability.

Coun Steven Leigh (Con, Ryburn) said he was also worried about the amount of prudential borrowing the council was undertaking in general and his group would oppose it at every stage.