Draft plan to build on open land opposed

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A campaign against Kirklees Council plans to allow more than 300 homes to be built on Merchant Fields is under way.

Hundreds of residents have submitted comments to the council about its draft local plan, which could allocate an additional 1,400 houses to the Cleckheaton area until 2031.

The Keep Hunsworth Green protestors are concerned about the loss of GreenBelt land but also about the huge volume of traffic that could increase on the A58, just above Chain Bar at junction 26 on the M62.

Residents contacted Cleckheaton’s councillors with their worries and a campaign was set up after a 50-strong community meeting.

Coun Kath Pinnock (Lib Dem) said: “I think that demonstrates a real strength of feeling because it’s not a big village, Hunsworth.

“There’s huge concern locally and the next step was to keep the momentum going.”

She added that proposed development on the fields “came up as an idea about 20-odd years ago and obviously it’s come back because there’s money to be made.

“How on earth do you get cars from 300-plus homes out on to the A58 when there’s already, at peak times and other times, queueing well past the junction?”

The site was allocated for mixed use developments in the draft local plan, and could be a site for the building of 318 houses.

Coun Pinnock said: “At the same time as allocating an additional 1,400 houses to the Cleckheaton area, Kirklees Council is making significant cutbacks to local services such as the demolition of the sports centre, library opening hours slashed, and the advice service in the town hall closed.”