Anger at £1m ‘pittance’ from homes builder

Issue 653

A COUNCILLOR claims council officers have “caved in” to  developer whom she says “offered a pittance” as part of their plan to build 166 new homes in Mirfield.

Coun Vivien Lees-Hamilton attacked council chiefs who settled for Taylor Wimpey’s offer to double their initial £500,000 ‘contribution’ in exchange for permission to build on the Mirfield25 site. The cash will be used to fund extra school places and improve roads.

The firm teamed up with Park Crescent for new homes and industrial units spread over a 12-hectare site.

As part of the planning process councils can ask for contributions to improve local facilities.

A draft Kirklees Council report states officials could have demanded £4m in exchange for a scheme of this scale.

Developers bumped up their bid to £1m, which the report describes as a “reasonable offer”.

About £600,000 is for extra places at Old Bank Junior, Infant and Nursery and Mirfield Free Grammar schools.

Coun Lees-Hamilton (Con, Mirfield) said: “Kirklees should be ashamed. They’re here to get the best deal for residents, not to roll over for developers.

“The council should have made them pay. Instead they’ve behaved in cavalier fashion. It amounts to selling England by the pound.”

Highways targeted for improvements include Sunny Bank Road, Church Lane and Stocks Bank Road.

Changes proposed include:

• Left only turn from Leeds Road into Sunny Bank Road;

• No right turn from Leeds Road into Child Lane;

• No left turn out of Child Lane.

The council’s Heavy Woollen Planning Sub-committee is due to consider the report at a meeting on Thursday.

Public consultation ends on Tuesday. Some 226 letters of objection have been received.

The report recommends outline approval, partly because Kirklees Council’s planning procedures are out of date.

It adds: “Currently the council is unable to demonstrate a five-year supply of deliverable housing land.

“... (this) itself is a relevant and material consideration, as is the provision of new housing which would help address the shortfall.”

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