LDF debate switch

A MEETING to decide on a controversial planning blueprint has been brought forward.
Kirklees councillors will aim to finalise the Local Development Framework (LDF) at a Huddersfield Town Hall debate from 5pm on Tuesday March 6.
It was due to be held after May’s elections, though officials claim the switch is not motivated by political considerations.
Labour, Lib Dem and Green councillors backed a deal for 22,470 new homes, including some on green belt land at Chidswell, in November.
LDF also earmarks 35 hectares at Chidswell, 15 hectares at Birstall and 10 hectares at Cleckheaton for industrial use.
But approval was delayed until June as the Government signalled it was going to abolish its house building targets.
The policy, called the Regional Spatial Strategy, is still law.
But council officials still pushed for the LDF meeting to be moved.
They claim court cases involving other councils mean LDF would not be illegal if the housing target were to be axed later.
Opposition Tories, meanwhile, are against the current LDF proposal, and they could be left hamstrung if it is approved and they end up in power after the local elections, with no easy way of reversing the decision.
Acting director of place Jacqui Gedman said: “We must act decisively as every day without LDF puts our district at risk from unplanned development.
“This meeting will conclude all matters which require council approval, so that our core strategy is ready for submission to Government.”
Campaigner Robert Bamforth, of the umbrella group Kirklees Community Action Network, scoffed at the claim.
He said: “The old plan, the Unitary Development Plan, is still valid until it is replaced.
“I don’t think it opens up the council to developers running amok.”
The meeting will be open to the public. Residents get five minutes each to raise any new issues that have arisen since November.
Anyone who wants to speak should register their interest by Friday March 2 by sending an email to andrea.woodside @kirklees.gov.uk.

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