LDF plan set for axe after official’s verdict

LDF plan set for axe after official’s verdict

THOUSANDS more new homes could be built after a council planning strategy was recommended for withdrawal.

Government inspector Roland Punshon told Kirklees Council it should rethink its Local Development Framework (LDF).

The Press understands the earliest it could be withdrawn is at a full council meeting due to be held on Wednesday October 23.

Council leader Mehboob Khan (Lab) said Mr Punshon wants up to 12,000 more new homes on top of the proposed LDF’s 22,000.

He also claimed Mr Punshon ordered less protection for green belt and urban green space land to get these homes built.

Green belt land at Chidswell in Dewsbury and Thornhill Lees were among the areas earmarked for housing under the proposed LDF.

The LDF would replace the council’s existing Urban Development Plan, which has been in force since 1999.

Coun Khan was due to meet with fellow council party leaders on Wednesday to discuss a way forward.

He said of the withdrawal recommendation: “It’s absurd. It doesn’t make any sense and makes a mockery of democracy.”

Coun Khan said part of the problem is the Government delayed abolishing a formula for new housing for 18 months.

Having been told to expect the formula, called the Regional Spacial Strategy (RSS), to be axed Kirklees finalised their LDF without it.

The policy was eventually scrapped, but only “in theory” according to Coun Khan, who said it still formed part of Mr Punshon’s report.

Kirklees used data from Sheffield Hallam University while Mr Punshon said in his recommendation he wants an “RSS-based” approach.

Coun Khan said: “The core strategy proposed by the Tories, which had less housing than ours, would therefore have faced the same problem as this one.”

Mark Eastwood, of the Chidswell Action Group, said the council’s LDF plan had been a shambles from the start.

He added: “Kirklees should take the withdrawal request as an opportunity to produce an alternative plan which has the support of Dewsbury residents.

“The failed LDF has already cost £600,000. It would also be interesting to know how much extra a revised plan will cost us, the taxpayers.”

Share this post