Perversity of our planning system

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Recently you published a letter from me regarding the Kirklees proposal to build 22,470 houses – the equivalent of a small town – most of them on green belt land.

This at a time when the Government is in the process of passing new planning laws, and has been roundly criticised for those planning laws allegedly not protecting the green belt.

Last week the Guardian published a story and photograph of a family house on Longfield Road, Heckmondwike, which has been heavily damaged by fire, caused by vandals.

The house seems to have been vacant for some two years because the owner is trying to obtain planning permission to “build 11 homes with garages, and for alterations to the existing house.” His plans have been turned down because “they would not be well integrated or complement the local area.”

Bearing in mind that Longfield Road is a fairly ordinary Yorkshire small town road, with a variety of houses, one has to ask what was he planning to build to be turned down in such a sweeping manner? And on a brownfield site too!

This inexplicable decision totally underlines the perversity of our planning system, because I would gamble that many of the 22,470 houses that are planned for Kirklees could well be considered as not being “well integrated or complement the local area,” especially if they are built on green belt land.

There is no sign that Kirklees has a demand for 22,470 house, integrated or not, but a small plan to provide 11/12 homes with garages, would certainly help fill a local need in Heckmondwike, and certainly not upset the local population, and overstretch local public services, which will certainly be the case if the major proposals go ahead.

Once again I ask who, or what, is driving this Kirklees proposal, and why should it be given preference over more local planning applications, or don’t we believe in local people and local democracy any more?

My last letter on the subject produced a deafening silence, and I don’t expect any better this time, but really it is surely time we held our local government to account on matters that threaten to affect the lives, and the services, of many of our local inhabitants.


Cornmill Lane