Planning strategy desperately needed, says Lib Dem

Issue 616

A STRATEGY for handling a planning mess is needed within three weeks after a ‘landmark’ ruling in Cleckheaton, a councillor has claimed.

Coun John Lawson (Lib Dem) wants a timetable set by the end of January for re-submitting a blueprint to the Government.

He spoke out after developer Redrow won an appeal last month for 54 homes on land near the Grade II-listed Lower Blacup Farm.

The application was initially rejected by Kirklees Council’s Heavy Woollen Planning Sub-Committee last March.

Coun Lawson believes the appeal success sets a precedent for other builders to develop similar Provisional Open Land (POL) sites.

Balderstone Fields in Mirfield, where Bellway Homes want to build, and an area off Norristhorpe Lane in Heckmondwike are also designated as POL.

Further POL sites include land off Primrose Lane in Hightown, Liversedge, and off Upper Batley Lane in Batley.

Coun Lawson added the lack of an official planning masterplan called the Local Development Framework (LDF) leaves such land at risk.

Kirklees Council’s LDF was withdrawn last year following criticism from a government planning inspector over issues including new homes.

The authority is currently drafting a revised LDF, with Coun Lawson wanting clarity about when this will be ready.

He is to submit a motion at a full council meeting on Wednesday calling for a timetable to be published by the end of January.

Coun Lawson said: “The time for blame is over. We now need the Labour cabinet to start making real progress.

“Unfortunately things are at a standstill. So we want to know what they are planning to do by the end of the month.

“Our hope is that a full council resolution will force Labour into taking responsibility for resolving this crucial matter for the local area.”

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