Protect our priceless heritage

I was interested to read Mr Barraclough’s letter about the Kirklees Estate in the Spenborough Guardian.

I live in Calderdale, just over the border, and much of the Kirklees Estate is situated near my home in Brighouse.

In our area I have heard very little about the situation, so it came as some surprise to me to learn what the situation was.

We too, in Calderdale, find our greenbelt under attack from developers, but there seems little public concern while in Kirklees it is heartening to see a real robust response from the general public and not just in respect of the Kirklees Estate only.

In last week’s Guardian there were no less than three articles expressing concern over green belt land being overrun by what are optimistically termed “developments.” Foremost was the Kirklees Estate which has 42 hectares of land up for grabs – one can see the developers fairly salivating at the prospect.

The estate, which is partly in Kirklees as well as in Calderdale, is also in the green belt.

The land surrounds the hall which was sold off by the late Lady Margaret Armytage after the death of Sir John, the eighth baronet, in 1984.

The hall was refurbished and turned into apartments, so it will be of some concern to these home owners that they could suddenly find their idyllic surroundings turned into industry and housing.

There are also the important historical sites of Robin Hood’s Grave and Kirklees Priory gatehouse to consider.

These unique monuments have been neglected over the years, despite the efforts of the Yorkshire Robin Hood Society to come to some agreement with Lady Armytage to help restore them and allow public access.

Over recent years the sites have also been the subject of paranormal investigations and vampire hunters and are thought to be situated on ley lines.

Will the unique monuments be lost in the process of the sale, as the estate has been divided in 20 lots which can be either sold individually or as a whole?

Again, surely it might be said, that the landowner can do as she likes with her own land? But we in Calderdale, (and Kirklees) hope that there will be more vision and public spirit than to doom the estate to the developers and that our priceless heritage will be preserved, along with the ancient woodland and rolling fields; and that the public may have at last have the benefit of this beautiful park and its Robin Hood heritage which surely should be available to all and be an asset to Kirklees and Calderdale.

Barbara Green

Yorkshire Robin Hood Society