Senior councillors have set out a way forward for Kirklees’s planning future.
They have decided to develop a Local Plan instead of resubmitting its Local Development Framework Core Strategy.
Kirklees cabinet member Coun Peter McBride said at Tuesday’s cabinet meeting: “Time is of the essence. We need a plan to reduce the timescale where totally unplanned development can take place and to bring forward land for industry and commerce that is desperately needed.”
Kirklees Council say a Local Plan will be in place quicker than redoing the LDF.
The authority withdrew the LDF last year after criticism from a planning inspector. Coun McBride said: “It’s not just Kirklees in this sense of chaos, there are a whole host of other authorities in the country who have been affected.”
The LDF set aside 122 hectares for employment land and land for 22,470 new homes in the borough, which could increase by 9,000. The Local Plan will identify specific sites in Kirklees to be developed, rather than just general areas.
Save Mirfield chairwoman Cheryl Tyler spoke in support of the Local Plan at the meeting but urged the authority to act quickly to stop developers “inflicting havoc on communities”. More than 300 homes on three different sites have been proposed for the town.
She said: “We are in favour of the proposal to have a local plan however we think its absolute critical that you work to a very strict timescale to get this done effectively and efficiently. You will be under scrutiny to see that this happens.
“The local plan must not reduce the protective rights or guidelines for residents. There must be meaningful consultation with the local communities that you are supposed to serve.”
Coun McBride said he sympathised with campaigners’ concerns, but added that “significant area of Kirklees to be developed.”
After the meeting, Mark Eastwood from the Chidswell Action Group said: “My worry is that it’s the same people in charge of the Local Plan as the LDF.”
The Local Plan will have to be approved at full council in February.