Controversy as 226 new Kirklees homes get go-ahead on green belt land

Thornpark House on Station Road, Batley, which is set to see 25 new homes
Thornpark House on Station Road, Batley, which is set to see 25 new homes

Controversial housing plans in Kirklees have stepped up as the area prepares for 266 new homes to be built.

An order from the Government nearly one year ago saw the controversial Local Plan given the go-ahead, which will see over 10,000 new homes built in the borough by 2031.

The Local Plan was adopted by the Labour-led authority in February 2019, and since then, Kirklees Council planners have approved the construction of hundreds of homes.

The controversy stems from many of the homes having to be built within the green belt, as there is insufficient non-green belt land in the district.

The latest developments to receive the green light are in Gomersal (98 homes at Cliffe Road); Batley (25 apartments within Thornpark House on Station Road); Newsome (76 apartments within the former Newsome Mills on Ruth Street); and Mirfield (67 homes at Granny Lane).

Coun Andrew Cooper (Green, Newsome) spoke at the planning meeting on December 19 and described the Newsome Mills development as “an important step forward” in the revival of the site, which was gutted by fire in 2016.

Coun Cooper said: “The fact that outline planning approval has been granted is significant.”

Disappointed people living near the Granny Lane site in Mirfield said councillors were “hell-bent” on driving through the plan, which will see homes built on an ancient floodplain.

A proposal to build 71 houses at Lady Ann Road in Soothill, Batley, was refused.

Senior Kirklees councillor Carole Pattison said the authority was “strapped for housing” and that building houses on an area with a history of flooding was “worth the risk”.

Members of Granny Lane Area Action Group (GLAAG) are now considering whether to write to the Ombudsman to raise their concerns that evidence – such as a flood report from a drainage consultancy and a planning lawyer’s letter – were effectively “ignored”.