CONTROVERSIAL plans for an eco friendly retirement village have been turned down by Kirklees Council.
Despite officers’ recommendations to approve the plan for a continuing care retirement community eco complex at Ponderosa Park, councillors on the Heavy Woollen planning sub-committee rejected it as part of the site is within green belt.
Coun Gwen Lowe (Lab, Batley East) said: “At the end of the day this is green belt and I agree that it’s inappropriate. It’s in the middle of nowhere and popping out for a paper will mean popping out for three hours.”
The scheme would have included up to 150 one and two bed units for elderly people and a central resource building with a 40 bed nursing home. It would also have included a shop, hairdressing salon, restaurant, surgery facilities, a gym, a library and IT facilities.
To make it eco-friendly it would have had low energy consumption and use renewable energy such as ground heat source pumps and solar panels.
Part of the site is in the Ponderosa Park complex, at Smithies Lane in Heckmondwike, and part is on green belt land.
Campaigners against the plan spoke out at the meeting. Mirfield resident Nicola Musgrave said the development would be more visible from Mirfield than from Heckmondwike.
She said: “Mirfield residents have not been consulted and neither have Mirfield Town Council.”
She said a retirement village had been considered for Mirfield Moor on The A62 but developers had not built it.
“M25 has been going on since 2009. It would have been built by now if there was a need for it,” she added. Ruth Eades, of Norristhorpe, said building should not take place on green belt land when brown sites were available.
She said wildlife was abundant on the site and would suffer if it was developed.
She said: “This would open the floodgates for other developers to build on green belt.”
But developer Adam Cook from Howard Cook Builders said the development would provide jobs both in its construction and once it was built.
He said: “This is an unique training flagship. It will open up real opportunities for young people and for long term employment.”
However 12 out of the 14 councillors voted to reject the plan.