Homes plan comes under fire from councillor

Homes plan comes under fire from councillor
By Tony Earnshaw
Local Democracy Reporter

A COUNCILLOR has warned against over-development of housing as planners drive forward Kirklees Council’s recently-adopted Local Plan.

Coun Mark Thompson (Con, Birstall and Birkenshaw), pictured below, said Birkenshaw faced embracing nearly 70 extra homes on top of a current application, already granted outline planning permission, for 127 homes on land at Blue Hills Farm on Whitehall Road West.

He said primary schools in Birkenshaw were already over-subscribed and that they would not be able to cope with an influx of new children.

He warned that nearby Whitehall Road, which is busy for most of the day, is “gridlocked” at peak times.

“The children that might go into this site in the primary level have got nowhere to go,” he said.

“Given that Whitehall Road is one of the red spots as far as air pollution is concerned, I find it hard to comprehend why we would consider 125 further houses, bringing in upwards of 200 more vehicles in that area.

“We have a site right next to the M62, one of the busiest motorways in the country, and now we’re talking about putting another 125 dwellings right next to the motorway.”

In Batley, outline planning permission has been granted for 366 homes off Soothill Lane, as well as a further 22 dwellings at Warwick Road.

The large-scale development will comprise houses and three apartment blocks on 31 acres of sloping grassland.

The smaller development of 12 town houses and 10 semi-detached houses at Warwick Road is on land that is currently overgrown and has been cleared of buildings associated with the former Zakaria Muslim Girls’ School.

Members of the Strategic Planning Committee raised concerns about access onto the highway around Soothill Lane and road safety near local schools.

Addressing members’ concerns, senior planning officer Mathias Franklin commented: “Kirklees is adding value to its planning permission. We are really getting the right message across to the development community.”

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