Plan revealed for 300 homes on green field site in Batley

A 25-year battle to save green fields in Batley looks set to end as a house builder has revealed plans for more than 300 new homes.

Friday, 23rd April 2021, 12:00 pm
Farmer Gill Paterson, whose fields at Grange Farm, Batley, are going to be taken to build 300 new homes.

Campaigners lost their fight to keep picturesque farmland in the Grange Valley at Soothill within the green belt two decades ago.

The land between Soothill Lane and Mill Forest Way is owned by Kirklees Council and so far has never been built on.

However, the council has given notice to farmer Gill Paterson to quit the land and a major housebuilding firm has launched public consultation on plans to build 319 new homes.

An artist's impression of the proposed housing development

Keepmoat Homes has been appointed by the council as “preferred development partner” for what is being called the Soothill Housing Development.

The firm is asking the public for their views ahead of a formal planning application being submitted.

Mrs Paterson, of Grange Farm, said: “It’s a site we have farmed for the last 40 years and it’s very productive land.

“We did lose the fight around 25 years ago when the land was removed from the green belt. We have been lucky to have it for all this time. It’s still very sad for the local area that we are going to lose this land.”

Mrs Paterson said the Keepmoat plans were the “thin edge of the wedge” with the nearby Chidswell site at the other side of Leeds Road set to be built on too.

With the battle for the Grange Valley lost, the best local people can hope for is to protect a bridleway and public footpaths which cross the site. Mrs Paterson said she hoped the houses would be thoughtfully-designed and built and be ecologically sound.

In their consultation documents Keepmoat says 233 houses will be accessed from Soothill Lane and another 86 from Forest Mill Way.

The mixed development will include one and two-bedroomed apartments and two, three and four-bedroomed houses.

The document adds: “Our plans for the area include the construction of traditional family housing, large amounts of open space and retention of natural walking routes and bridleways. 20 per cent of the new homes built will be affordable housing.”