Dewsbury Riverside plans could be a 'recipe for disaster'

Dewsbury Riverside plans could be a 'recipe for disaster'

PLANS to build thousands of homes on green belt land are a “recipe for disaster”, according to a Mirfield councillor.

Tory politician Martyn Bolt has blasted proposals for the Dewsbury Riverside development, which could see up to 4,000 houses, new schools and shops built on green fields between Ravensthorpe and Mirfield.

The project is mentioned in Kirklees Council’s Local Plan, which outlines proposals to build 33,000 new homes across the district within 15 years.

Coun Bolt believes the scheme has not been thoroughly thought out.

And despite being called ‘Dewsbury Riverside’ around 500 of the planned new homes would be built over the ward boundary in Mirfield.

“500 of those houses would be in Mirfield,” said Coun Bolt.

“There was a comment made at a recent local planning meeting that Mirfield was just a suburb of Dewsbury. It shows a lack of understanding that people who are dealing with these things have about the local community.

“It’s very worrying that they are showing access off Sands Lane, which is narrow and not maintained by highways.

“Steanard Lane is narrow, it floods a lot, there is a failure to address environmental flooding.

“It’s just a recipe for disaster the way it’s going.”

An official document showing what the 160-hectare plot could look like if it is given the go-ahead has been revealed.

Plans suggest that three new schools, shops, a community centre and a health centre could all be built on the site.

And it is the idea of new schools that is a major concern for Coun Bolt.

He said: “It’s great for any community to have new buildings, but I’m sure parents want more than just new buildings.

“If you’re a parent sending your children through education, you want a track record of delivering education, you don’t just want a shiny new building.”

Planners are also considering building a new road bridge to access the site over the River Calder and TransPennine rail line via Low Mill Lane, as well as building access roads from Mirfield, Ravensthorpe and Thornhill Lees.

Dewsbury MP Paula Sherriff said that a lot of work needs to be done before the development goes ahead.

“It is a key concern of local people and of mine that – as with any new development – the impact on the existing highway network and other infrastructure requirements are fully considered,” Miss Sherriff said.

“Access to affordable, good quality housing in the right location continues to be one of the most frequent issues I am contacted about and we need to work together to meet the housing needs of constituents.

“I continue to work with residents to ensure that any concerns are heard and addressed at an early stage before properties are built.”

Whether the project will go ahead is down to the Local Plan being given the green light.

A decision is expected later this year after a planning inspector has reviewed all documents.

Developer Miller Homes already has permission to build around 120 homes off Ravensthorpe Road at the edge of the site.

A Kirklees Council spokesman said: “The council put forward the area known as Dewsbury Riverside as proposed housing allocation in the emerging Local Plan.

“However, some of the land in the area is already allocated for housing in the current development plan for Kirklees (the Unitary Development Plan, adopted by the council in 1999) which the council currently works to when deciding planning applications.

“The outline permission for the 120 houses in the application 2016/60/94117/E is on the land already covered by the UDP.

“No decision on the wider Dewsbury Riverside project will be made until the emerging Local Plan is finalised.”

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