Opponents of ‘floodplain’ homes in Mirfield plan to step up protest

Opponents of ‘floodplain’ homes in Mirfield plan to step up protest
By Tony Earnshaw
Local Democracy Reporter


RESIDENTS fighting to stop a controversial housing development in Mirfield say last week’s heavy rainfall has added weight to their concerns about flooding.

Wakefield-based Miller Homes intends to build 67 houses on meadowland off Granny Lane at Hopton Bottom, close to Sheep Ings Farm. The land has been allocated for housing as part of Kirklees Council’s Local Plan.

People living nearby fear building on the land will exacerbate periodic flooding. They say groundwater from the site would be diverted into nearby Valance Beck.

The beck, which runs alongside Hagg Lane and through a narrow culvert under Granny Lane into the River Calder, was totally overwhelmed after the district was lashed by torrential rain last week.

Hagg Lane, Granny Lane and surrounding land was flooded, leading locals to pour scorn on claims that the site has no recent history of flooding.

The Granny Lane Area Action Group (GLAAG) was formed to protest against construction work and to raise concerns with planning and highways chiefs.

One GLAAG member, whose home borders the beck, took photographs of the floodwaters, which she described as “a river”.

She said: “The pictures demonstrate the issue of Valance Beck breaking in the hill behind the development and becoming a river onto Hagg Lane.

“I also took some pictures of the site, which according to the developers has no recent history of flooding.”

Members of GLAAG say their three primary concerns around the development are flooding, narrow roads and traffic.

They say the planned housing will be built on a water meadow, with the land having been a floodplain “for thousands of years”.

They say the area has flooded six times already this year and was badly affected in 2015.

Mirfield councillor Vivien Lees-Hamilton, who has lived in Hopton all her life, said the beck was a notorious flood zone.

“Valance Beck always floods,” she said. “The thought that they can divert groundwater into that beck is nonsense.

“I have photographs of that land in flood. Water can be seen gushing through the wall onto the road.

“The ground gets saturated – and that’s before there’s anything built on it.”

She said the Environment Agency was investigating whether Valance Beck was capable of accepting run-off from surrounding fields.

She added: “The plan is inappropriate and simply not viable. It needs to be dropped.”

The housing scheme is due to be heard at Kirklees Council’s Strategic Planning Committee on November 21.

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