Opposition to homes plan on 'tree barrier' land

Dozens of new homes are planned for land which was left with a barrier of trees to protect residents from the noise of a new road.

Thursday, 6th May 2021, 8:00 am
Pictured from the left are Shane Shaw, Sarah Gomersall, Rodney Lyles and Steve Crossley, who are objecting to the plan near their homes in Hanging Heaton

A triangle of land behind Hanging Heaton Working Men’s Club, bordered by High Street and Challenge Way in Batley, was allocated for housing under the Kirklees Local Plan in 2019.

Up to 61 homes could be built on the land which has a strip of trees planted to screen existing hillside houses.

The land has been up for sale and now developer Vistry Partnerships Yorkshire has leafleted local residents asking for their views.

The leaflet says there will be one, two, three and four-bedroomed homes and 20 per cent of the site will be “affordable” housing. No formal planning application has yet been submitted.

As the land is already allocated for housing, residents know they cannot stop any development. However, they want to save the trees which they say are home to an abundance of wildlife including bats, a protected species.

Mum-of-two Laura Shaw and husband Shane say the trees were originally planted as a sound and pollution barrier when the new Grange Road and Challenge Way were built.

Laura said: “Our main priority is to save the trees. They act as a natural barrier for noise and air pollution coming from Grange Road and they are a source of food and shelter for lots of wildlife.

“I often sit and watch everything from hawks and kestrels to swallows and wrens using that land, as well as bats foraging at night time.

“The field also acts as a natural border to Hanging Heaton to give the area a real sense of community and identity.”

At the other side of the Grange Valley another plot of allocated housing land is also set to be built on. Fields owned by Kirklees Council and rented by farmer Gill Paterson at Grange Farm are under consultation.

Keepmoat Homes is asking the public for their views on plans for 300 homes on the site between Soothill Lane and Mill Forest Way.

Steve Crossley, whose home backs onto the Vistry Partnerships site, said: “It seems Kirklees Council are treating the whole area of Shaw Cross, Hanging Heaton and Chidswell like a giant concrete jigsaw. They won’t rest until every piece is filled in.”