Green belt war is not over yet

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CAMPAIGNERS fighting to save 42 hectares of green belt land from industrial development have vowed to carry on their battle.

Kirklees Council agreed to give up the land, between Hartshead, Roberttown and Cooper Bridge, as part of its Local Development Framework (LDF), at a meeting on Tuesday.

The LDF is the council’s plan for business and homes development over the next 15 years.

Campaigners from Keep Roberttown and Hartshead Rural (KRHR) said they were expecting Kirklees to pass the LDF.

But they said they would now step up their campaign to fight the plans as they go to the secretary of state, who will make the final decision on the LDF.

John Barraclough, from KRHR, said the battle may have been lost, but the war could still be won.

He said: “We thought we would be going through the motions at the meeting and we didn’t expect we would be heard.”

Mr Barraclough, who said he had worked in a manufacturing business in Mirfield for 28 years, said the group believed the council had highly overestimated the need for industrial jobs.

He said: “We agree jobs need to be created – that’s not in doubt – but the councillors are on their crusade, irrespective of what everybody else thinks.

“The council has got to be realistic. Nobody can predict what’s going to happen in 2018.

“In business you don’t plan 15 years ahead. Why condemn this land now?”

He said KRHR was now working towards the secretary of state’s review of the LDF – and urged everyone to help.

“We need to prepare a case for the inspector. We really anticipated we would have to go to this stage. We will need everybody to pitch in. We will be co-ordinating meetings. We really want to make a big campaign,” he said.

“We are not prepared to be trodden on or told that we don’t know what we’re talking about. It’s much more than that – what we leave for future generations that’s important.”

l See p20 for more.