Call to stop developer ‘free for all’ on homes

Police and Crime Commission candidate  Andrew Marchington
Police and Crime Commission candidate Andrew Marchington

A group of councillors are demanding to know what Kirklees Cabinet is planning to do to stop a housing “free for all” on green land.

Kirklees Liberal Democrats want to see action taken to protect precious greenfield sites, many of which developers have declared an interest in during the last 18 months.

Following the failure of the Local Development Framework last year, Kirklees has been unable to defend itself against over-development. The authority is now working on replacement – the Local Plan – which could take up to three years.

A motion was due to be discussed at last night’s full council meeting. Lib Dem deputy leader Andrew Marchington said his group had tabled it on behalf of “angry and disillusioned” Kirklees residents who want action taken in the short term while the Local Plan is agreed. Plan for 53 homes in Ashbourne Drive, Cleckheaton, have already been given the go-ahead and thee Mirfield sites are under threat.

The motion calls on the Cabinet and Council Leader to recognise: “the anger, frustration and distress the situation is causing among local communities who have had or are at risk of having unwanted, unsustainable developments forced on them at the expense of local services, amenities, quality of life and the loss of highly valued, green open spaces” and act to restore public confidence.

Coun Marchington said: “We need a Local Plan as quickly as possible, that is abundantly clear, but we can’t expect communities to be OK with having to wait another three years for one, especially those that have already lost greenfield sites and are facing the prospect of losing more to unwanted housing.

“The first thing people want to know is whether the Cabinet will be doing anything about the situation or if they are happy to spend the next three years letting developers build wherever the choose.”