Robin Hood’s grave, Luddite walk and Brontë country under threat by Spen Valley development?

Sally and Hohn Barraclough and Barbara and David Lumb by the land that is under threat of developmet by kirklees council. The site off the A62 (Leeds Road) has a lot of historical significance. (d29021263)
Sally and Hohn Barraclough and Barbara and David Lumb by the land that is under threat of developmet by kirklees council. The site off the A62 (Leeds Road) has a lot of historical significance. (d29021263)
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CAMPAIGNERS fighting to save more than 100 acres of green belt land with 1,000 years of historical significance have made a last-ditch attempt to get councillors to change their minds.

Kirklees Council will formally approve its Local Development Framework, a 15-year housing and business plan, at a meeting on Tuesday.

It includes releasing 42 hectares – 103 acres – of green belt land between Hartshead, Cooper Bridge and Roberttown for industry.

Members of the Keep Roberttown and Hartshead Rural campaign group have appealed to decision-making councillors to join a walk on Sunday to see the threatened land and hear why it should be preserved.

Campaigner Barbara Lumb said: “The land divides north and south Kirklees and the development would lead to urban sprawl of the worst kind. There would be no distinction between the two areas. It is important for aesthetics as well as history.”

The land contains four historic woods as well as buildings with links to the Luddite movement, which celebrates its 200th anniversary this year.

It also borders the ancient burial place of legendary outlaw Robin Hood, whose grave is within the Armytage estate.

Barbara said: “The woods are incredibly beautiful with wildlife and wild flowers. The former Kirklees Priory which was built in 1153 borders the site and there are 11 listed buildings within the Armytage estate. The land earmarked for development is in very close proximity to areas of huge significance.

“The Luddites met at the Dumb Steeple at Cooper Bridge and set off across these fields on their attack at Cartwright Mills. The Luddite Way is a heritage path.

“In addition, Roe Head, an iconic building to Brontë enthusiasts, is very close and is where the three sisters went to school. Their teacher would talk about local gossip which appeared in their books. All these stories came out of the Spen Valley and Charlotte’s novel Shirley was the biggest one.”

If plans are agreed on Tuesday the LDF will be referred to the secretary of state – and Mrs Lumb said the group would fight on.

She said: “We went with great hopes to the last meeting but the decision was a slap in the face. We felt we hadn’t been listened to.

“We have to fight – we couldn’t rest if we allowed this to happen.”

The walk takes place on Sunday, meeting at 11am at the Three Nuns pub. Campaigners from across Kirklees are also planning a protest march tomorrow at 11am from Huddersfield Railway Station to Huddersfield Town Hall.

Objectors are invited to go along on either march.

•Click on the link to the right of this story to see the video.