Call for action after trees cut down at site of new homes in Batley
A community leader in Batley Carr is urging Kirklees Council to take action against a developer who he claims chopped down trees and failed to follow planning conditions.
A row of five mature maple trees were meant to stay to screen new homes from the Grade II-listed Trinity Centre – Holy Trinity Parish Church – on Upper Road, Batley Carr.
Bill Thompson, chairman of the Trinity Centre, says that once the new homes were built, the trees were chopped down and an unsightly fence erected around the development.
Cedar Homes (Yorkshire) Ltd secured planning permission to build eight houses on what was a former council-owned car park just across Trinity Street from the church.
Planning permission said the trees would remain and plans showed that around 500 plants and shrubs would be planted around the edge of the site to screen it.
Instead, says Mr Thompson, the trees were felled and a fence was erected up against the pavement, leaving no room for planting. Two small areas of land not fenced off at either end of the development are overgrown with huge weeds.
Mr Thompson told how the centre had opposed the sale of the car park at the outset because it was well-used by the community but they successfully persuaded the council to create a replacement car park nearby.
“When I first saw the artist’s impression for the new houses I thought it looked wonderful and would enhance the area,” he said.
“The houses were built in 2019 and then one day we arrived and they were cutting the trees down and there was only one left.
"If I’d have got there sooner, I would have told them to stop.”
Mr Thompson said he complained to Kirklees Council’s planning department, who told him that despite the trees not being protected “enforcement was dealing with it” and the developer would be told to plant new trees.
A tall fence was erected around the development and some of the residents have increased the height still further. No space had been left for planting, he said.
Mr Thompson has spoken to a succession of planning officers but no action has been taken.
“The developer seems to have ignored the majority of the conditions and this has been going on for two years now,” said Mr Thompson.
“If the planning department can’t deal with a small development like this, how do they manage with a large development? No-one has taken the developer to task in any serious manner.”
A Kirklees Council spokesperson said: “We take any breach of planning conditions seriously.
"The development in question is subject to an ongoing investigation by our planning officers.
We will work with the applicant to try to resolve the issues and will take appropriate enforcement action where needed.”
The Batley News attempted to contact the developer and left messages with the company’s professional advisors.