Critics pan plan to build homes on flood-risk land

Critics pan plan to build homes on flood-risk land
By Tony Earnshaw
Local Democracy Reporter

A HOUSING estate planned for meadowland near Mirfield will lead to increased flooding in the area, claim residents.

Locals living in Hopton Bottom, close to the River Calder, say an ancient water meadow bordering narrow Granny Lane has acted as a natural floodplain for more than a millennium.

But they fear building on the land will only exacerbate periodic flooding, which they say is becoming more frequent.

Wakefield-based Miller Homes intends to build 67 houses on the field, west of Grade II-listed Sheep Ings Farm, which has been allocated for housing as part of Kirklees Council’s Local Plan.

Residents have now formed Granny Lane Area Action Group (GLAAG) to protest against construction work and to raise their concerns with planning and highways chiefs.

They expect to speak at a planning meeting in Huddersfield Town Hall next month.

They are being supported by campaign group Save Mirfield, which fought and won a battle to stop pastureland at Balderstone Hall Fields being turned into a housing estate.

A GLAAG spokeswoman said: “We have three primary concerns: flooding, narrow roads and traffic.

“The name ‘Ings’ is a Norse word meaning water meadow. This has been a floodplain for thousands of years.

“It soaks up a certain amount but in very bad weather it just floods. The land can’t cope.”

She said the area floods from two points: from the River Calder, just 100 yards away, and the flow down from the hills that can overwhelm underground culverts.

“River flooding is occurring more and more frequently on Granny Lane and further down at Steanard Lane. People have had to evacuate their homes. They can’t get flood insurance,” she said.

“Millions of pounds has been spent on flood defences in Hebden Bridge and Mytholmroyd but all that will do is force the water further downstream. That makes a bigger problem here.”

Residents also worry about the narrowness of Granny Lane – and the speed of some drivers who may be unfamiliar with the road and its proximity to the river.

They say the proposed entrance to the development area is unsuitable and that large-scale construction vehicles will struggle to get in and out, putting nearby properties at risk.

Locals have already witnessed several accidents,  some minor, some serious. They believe a fatal crash is inevitabile.

Kirklees’ Local Plan for tens of thousands of new homes was adopted in February.

An order from the government, it includes 31,000 homes, many of which will have to be built within the green belt, as there is insufficient non-green belt land in the borough.

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