Fury over plans to build homes on former cricket ground

Land where Soothill Cricket Club used to be.
Land where Soothill Cricket Club used to be.

An action group has hit out at plans to build almost 40 new homes on a former cricket ground.

The Friends of Soothill Cricket Field, formed at a public meeting last week, criticised the application and has writtena letter of objection to Kirklees Council.

Yorkshire Housing and the Savile Estate have submitted plans for 35 two and three-bedroom houses and four flats, with car parking and landscaping works.

Communal gardens are also proposed as well as a new adopted access road off West Street.

But Soothill Forum vice chairman Mohammed Dadhiwala, who chaired the meeting, said the proposed development offered no recreation space for the Soothill community.

He said: “We are shocked as a community and feel the plans have come out of the blue.

“Soothill needs open space provision in the area. If the houses are built then there is no other land left.

“We will fight for the pitch because we need somewhere for the children to play and we need recreation space.”

Public comments on the application closed earlier this week.

Residents have campaigned for several years for the 3.5 acre site to be cleaned up and used as a sports ground.

Mr Dadhiwala said although the grass was overgrown and had become plighted by rubbish, it had the potential to be a key site in the community.

He said: “Kirklees Council has a responsibility to provide recreational open spaces.I have grown up in Soothill and in my childhood I played cricket on the field with my friends.

“Giving the sports field a makeover would not cost much. The problem is no club has come forward, which we really need.

“Kirklees Council has got the machinery to cut the grass, clean and tidy the area. All you need is two goal posts installed and that is at least a start.”

Members who attended the meeting at Soothill Community Centre opposed the development and claimed Soothill had been heavily developed on in the past 20 years.

Mr Dadhiwala said: “The members agreed that it should be used for something the area needs so that is why we have written the letter.

“Other issues like traffic must be taken into consideration. More housing is only going to create more problems.”