Housing plan in Cleckheaton is back with a new layout - and more homes

A proposed housing estate that was thrown out by councillors earlier this year has come back for discussion with a new layout – and more homes.

Tuesday, 26th October 2021, 10:30 am
An aerial view of a proposed housing site at Hunsworth, near Cleckheaton, where more than 200 homes are proposed, adding to fears over congested local roads (image: Google)

The Harron Homes scheme on almost 30 acres of farmland at Hunsworth Lane in Cleckheaton was refused by a tight 4-3 vote at Kirklees Council’s strategic planning committee in April.

The project, which was felt to be overly dominated by large, detached houses, has since been amended to incorporate a reduction in four-bed homes and an increase in two- and three-bed properties.

That has resulted in an increase overall in houses on the site, from 267 to 284.

Conservatives and Lib Dems previously raised concerns about the layout of the estate, which comprises five fields separated by trees and hedgerows that was said to “wrap around” Merchant Fields Farm.

It was a protected ancient hedgerow that helped get the scheme refused.

One councillor, the Conservatives’ Nigel Patrick (Holme Valley South), dismissed a notion that it could be torn out and then relocated.

However that is precisely what is being suggested as a solution to allow the houses to be built.

The hedgerow – deemed important because of its species mix, not its location – is to be “translocated” in its entirety to the south-west of boundary of the site.

An agent for the developer said it was “totally committed” to the hedge re-location using ground soil and seed bank, and that it was expected to have an 85 per cent success rate.

He said: “If it’s translocated as one and kept together, it’s maintaining that value.

“It should not be split up into different parts. Keeping it in one line along the [site] boundary is probably the best solution.

“Where it does fail it will be maintained and replanted within a year.”

In adding 17 extra houses to the estate, the number of four-bed homes has been reduced by four, the number of two-bed increased by ten and three-bed increased by 11.

No five-bed homes are proposed.

The estate will have a new access from Hunsworth Lane, along with woodland planting and wildflower meadows on site.

Coun Andrew Pinnock (Lib Dem, Cleckheaton) said he remained unconvinced about the access from Hunsworth Lane and suggested it should be built first to provide access for construction traffic.

Coun Mark Thompson (Con, Birstall and Birkenshaw) sought “a better mix” of houses that reflected the shortage of affordable homes rather than high numbers of four-bed homes.

He said Hunsworth Lane was used as a cut through by many drivers to avoid motorway congestion at the Chain Bar junction.

He also said its position on a corner made it a potential problem.