Stop ‘flawed’ LDF consultation

I WAS delighted by Friday’s turnout to the meeting in Roberttown regarding the plans to build huge areas of warehouses, fast food outlets and car showrooms on green belt land in this area.

By the numbers who turned out and by the strength of feeling expressed it is clear of the very real concerns to convert a lot of our green belt into ‘employment’ land. It is proposed to take large greenfield sites at Three Nuns, Muffit Lane and Rawfolds and Littletown out of greenbelt to allow tin shed development there.

Firstly, according to the councillors, every household in Kirklees is supposed to have had a booklet through their letterbox which explains what is proposed. However it would seem more than half the households in Liversedge, Gomersal, Roberttown and Hartshead have not seen a copy.

If the majority of people are unaware of the threat to the green belt, they cannot make informed comment and the whole consultation process is, therefore, flawed.

Even those with the booklet are being kept in the dark regarding the location of the industrial and warehouse units. Kirklees is still trying to keep secret exactly where the sites are. Part of the subterfuge is to call Three Nuns ‘Cooper Bridge’ and claim it as in Huddersfield. It is in Hartshead, Liversedge, and the 10 hectares they claim is in Cleckheaton, almost certainly is at Rawfolds and Littletown in Liversedge.

Most certain is the huge allocation at the Three Nuns. This is an enormous 50 hectares – the size of over 70 football fields or greater than the built villages of Roberttown and Hartshead combined. Kirklees isn’t saying if this is gross or net so probably the area covered by the myriad of roads, sliproads, roundabouts, traffic lights and other infrastructure will be in addition to this.

At Rawfolds it is proposed to develop 10 hectares – 14 football pitches – and an area next to Muffit Lane, Gomersal, of a similar size.

The Rawfolds allocation is greater than Royds Park and all the undeveloped land between Bradford Road and the Ringway - indeed it may be the intention to develop Royds Park - we just aren’t being told. The Muffit Lane allocation would involve bulldozing thousands of trees and major earthworks and providing roads and parking for hundreds of vehicles from what is, essentially, a country lane.

I call upon Kirklees to stop their flawed ‘consultation’, do things properly by giving us the full facts, making sure everybody, ie every house, has the information in a clear and understandable way in plenty of time to get their comments in.

There is a public meeting at the town hall, Cleckheaton, on Tuesday February 1 at 7pm. There will be councillors (and hopefully planning officers, who declined to attend the Roberttown meeting) present. Please come along to air your views and to press for a proper consultation on these far-reaching proposals. Come early to get a seat.

GORDON NORTH

Vice-chairman Spen Valley Civic Society.