Councillors: “Where will this new industry go?”

SORELY MISSED: The Rev Michael Escritt who died peacefully on January 22.
SORELY MISSED: The Rev Michael Escritt who died peacefully on January 22.

COUNCILLORS have blasted plans to allocate 10 hectares of land in Birstall and Birkenshaw for industry, saying the local infrastructure simply cannot cope.

The Local Development Framework is being drawn up by Kirklees and will decide what land will be allocated for housing and industry.

At a meeting of the Birstall and Birkenshaw ward forum on Tuesday, residents and councillors said the plans to allocate land in Birstall for business use would have a detrimental impact on the area.

Coun Andrew Palfreeman said: “The infrastructure can’t cope with the traffic that is already on the road, never mind any more.”

Coun Robert Light added: “The pressure on the Smithies junction will be intolerable. My view is that there ought to be more planning for infrastructure before they plan these developments.

“Take Junction 27 - they did not plan for that. If they had done, then all the problems we have had since then would have been managed in a much better way.”

Coun Palfreeman said he was worried about the effects the new industrial sites would also have on the rest of the road network.

He said: “They are looking for sites around Junction 27 and Chain Bar but they don’t look at the effects it will have on the local infrastructure.

“Look what happens already when there is a blockage on the M62.” The councillors said plans to build on 125 acres of land in Mirfield behind the Three Nuns would also have a knock-on effect.

He said: “There will be a major blockage of north Kirklees as all the traffic filters back and has an impact on us all.”

Chair of Birstall Tops TRA, Maurice Foster, asked where the new businesses would go.

“Where are we going to build businesses in Birstall? There is nowhere,” he said.

Coun Light said the land at Birstall Smithies was being looked at as well as the Raikes Lane golf course area.

Another resident said: “What is the point of having industrial land, selling it off for residential land and then saying we haven’t got any industrial land!”

Coun Palfreeman added: “There is vacant land at Chain Bar and they can’t develop that because there isn’t the demand. Look at the massive site at Whitehall 26 Business Park. If they want to find other industrial sites, what about the [Dixons] showroom at the Birstall cross roads? Why can’t they use that?”

* The Batley, Birstall and Birkenshaw Town and Valley Committee meets today at 7.30pm to discuss the LDF at Batley town hall.