LDF plan is ‘horrifying’

Campaign to save green fields at Cooper Bridge, Hartshead and Roberttown.
Campaign to save green fields at Cooper Bridge, Hartshead and Roberttown.

CAMPAIGNERS fighting to save 42 hectares of historic green belt land from industry say the plans are ‘horrifying’.

The pressure group Keep Roberttown and Hartshead Rural is stepping up the fight against the Local Development Framework which says an area of land at the Armytage Estate, twice the size of the White Rose Centre, should be released in principle for industry.

The land, behind the Three Nuns, is some of Spen’s most treasured and historic countryside, containing ancient woodland, an Anglican settlement and the ruins of Hartshead Hall.

It was also the meeting place for the Luddites for their attack at Cartwright’s Mill in Littletown 200 years ago and the site borders Kirklees Hall and Robin Hood’s grave.

The group has already led a high-profile campaign against the plans – with public meetings, walks and marches – and is now considering its next steps now that a second consultation period has been launched.

Spokesman John Barraclough said: “The whole thing makes for horrifying reading. There are so many ramifications.

“It’s such a huge and grandiose scheme and they are even now trying to take more land than originally planned.

“As well as highways issues there are also massive infrastructure costs, but who is going to pay them? The council doesn’t have the money and the developers won’t pay, so who will?

“They also want to incorporate opportunities for between 2,500-2,800 employees which is absurd because there is no way that is going to happen. It doesn’t mathematically stack up. Our final point is that there is absolutely no reason for this massive park.

“All this could be put on other smaller sites. It has no merit in being where they are proposing.

“We will be arranging a public meeting in October to brief people on the situation and stir them to write the appropriate letters.”

Details of the meeting will be in the Guardian and also at www.roberttownvillage.org.uk.

Spen Valley Civic Society also opposes the plans.

Chairman Max Rathmell said: “At the moment traffic backs up from Cooper Bridge to J25 of the M62, sometimes even preventing vehicles exiting the motorway.

“The new plan will include a new roundabout and dual carriageway. The whole thing is fascinating on one level – but terrifying on another.”

The plans are available on the council website www.kirklees.gov.uk/localdevelopment and public consultation closes on November 2.