Mirfield councillors have hit out over proposals to build hundreds of new homes in the town, as part of a district-wide blueprint for development.

Coun Bolt and his Mirfield colleagues have criticised the Kirklees Local Plan.
Coun Bolt and his Mirfield colleagues have criticised the Kirklees Local Plan.

Backlash after council agrees to housing plan

The Kirklees Local Plan, which allocates land for 30,000 houses, employment, leisure and open space over the next 15 years, was discussed at a full meeting of Kirklees Council last week.

Kirklees Council leader David Sheard. (D526F439)

Kirklees Council leader David Sheard. (D526F439)

Under the plans, more than 300 homes could be built in Mirfield. And the town’s Conservative councillors fear the developments, along with others on the outskirts, will put pressure on local amenities.

Coun Martyn Bolt said: “Developments at Dewsbury New Town and at Cooper Bridge will cause even greater strain on our already inadequate roads.

“The congestion will become intolerable and our roads and town centre will grind to a halt.

“School provision remains inadequate and more residents will have to fight for non-existent places.”

Coun Kath Taylor added: “Despite our efforts there is still no adequate provision for flood defences in the town. Mirfield is like the meat in a squashed sandwich, and if Labour proposals go through it will be unacceptable for local residents.”

And Coun Vivien Lees-Hamilton said: “The Local Plan delivers housing by stealth especially in Mirfield - 571 of the houses that Labour claim are in Dewsbury are actually in Mirfield.

She continued: “Infrastructure should be in place before development takes place. As councillors we will continue the fight against the proposals at every opportunity.”

The council sought people’s views on the plan during a consultation period last year.

A revised version of the plan was agreed at the meeting and a second public consultation is expected to launch next month to give people a say on technical issues. The final draft will then be submitted to government inspectors to make sure it complies with planning rules. And if so, it could be adopted in 2018.

Coun Peter McBride, cabinet member for regeneration, said the plan would help manage demand for housing, jobs, infrastructure and green space.

And council leader Coun David Sheard said: “If no plan is in place, we would have much less control over planning processes, so it would be difficult if not impossible to safeguard our urban green space or our green belt. That would continue to be at risk.”