Farm could be a victim of housing plan

bty greenspace. Gill Paterson  (300326)
bty greenspace. Gill Paterson (300326)

A farm could lose a big chunk of its business if a proposal to build hundreds of new homes gets the green light.

Gill Paterson, from Grange Farm, said that a quarter of the land she rents for her business falls within the area between Batley’s Soothill Lane and Grange Road that was earmarked for 400 new homes.

She feared if the plan went ahead it would mean losing business to bigger farming companies and wasting one Batley’s most striking areas of green space.

She said: “The feasibility of 400 new homes by Soothill Lane is absolutely ridiculous.

“And why should we get rid of one of the only good things in Batley.

“As a business we cannot afford to be losing land – you need to grow and be bigger to survive or you are usurped by the big boys. I’m not saying that’s a good thing it is just the way it is.”

Mrs Paterson, who is also chairwoman of Soothill Forum, questioned how many new homes it was necessary to build when other properties remained empty.

“It is building for the sake of it not to meet need. There are thousands of empty homes that need to be addressed,” she said.

Batley historian Malcolm Haigh said: “Any town needs space for development but to build 400 homes in one part of Batley is completely wrong.

“Soothill Lane was not built to cope with such numbers of vehicles.”

Development company Parsons Brinckerhoff recently announced plans to build around 400 new homes in Batley on behalf of Kirklees Council.

No planning application has yet been submitted but the firm has begun its own consultation that will run until July 20. It is expected the firm will submit a formal application next month.