By Tony Earnshaw Local Democracy Reporter
COUNCILLORS in Dewsbury are pushing for the massive Dewsbury Riverside housing scheme to be built in phases to ensure local people do not miss out on facilities.
Labour trio Masood Ahmed, Nosheen Dad and Gulfam Asif (pictured) say developers need to be held accountable for what they build – and not be allowed to skimp on key infrastructure such as schools and GPs’ surgeries.
The Dewsbury Riverside project – a flagship development within Kirklees Council’s Local Plan – will eventually see 4,000 houses built on a vast swathe of land at Thornhill Lees between Ravensthorpe and Mirfield.
Approximately 1,869 homes will be built over the next 11 years on 70 acres of council-owned land.
The first stage of the plan will involve the demolition of a mosque and playgroup centre, and the removal of allotments, which will be replaced at a cost of £750,000.
The remaining 2,131 homes will be built after the council has bought a further 11.5 acres of land, which is owned by the Diocese of Leeds, part of the Church of England.
Over the next two years the council will spend just over £1m removing the allotments, creating an access road into the site and drainage.
Coun Ahmed (Lab, Dewsbury South) said they had worked extensively on the proposals for the Ravenshall allotments off Lees Hall Road, and specifically the ‘central gateway’ into the land.
“We have expressed a specific desire to ensure that the first phase of the development results in benefits for the local community through on and off-site provision,” he said.
“We have been instrumental in helping and supporting the masterplan through local community events and drop-in sessions.
“At these meetings we have discussed with (building consultants) Spawforth Associates key issues such as highways, walking and cycling routes, drainage, schools, a doctor’s surgery, community infrastructure, the type of houses and how employment might be created.”
Coun Asif (Lab, Dewsbury South) added: “One key issue we have pushed is that this is done in stages, so there’s accountability and work to be completed before they move to the next site.
“Too often these sites tend to leave things half-completed such as roads and footpaths.
“The Riverside is going to start next year and will take around 20-plus years to complete.”
A report on the proposals was approved by the council’s decision-making Cabinet at a meeting on February 25.