By Tony Earnshaw Local Democracy Reporter
ANCIENT woodland shrouding the reputed grave of Robin Hood is at risk of being felled as part of a multi-million pound road scheme.
Now council chiefs are being urged to mitigate the potential damage expected to be caused by the creation of the planned £69.2m A62/A644 (Wakefield Road) Link Road.
The route of the road as proposed will involve cutting into woodland bordering the A644 between Cooper Bridge in Mirfield and junction 25 of the M62 at Brighouse.
The call comes as Kirklees Council announces a wide-ranging new policy to manage trees and woodland across the borough – including planting hundreds of thousands of new trees.
The authority aims to increase tree cover and has pledged to retain trees “wherever possible”. But it has been urged to enshrine trees in its planning agreements with builders, ensuring that protecting existing trees and planting new ones is a condition of any development.
Coun Martyn Bolt (Con, Mirfield), urged the council to lessen any possible future impact on woodland within the Kirklees Estate, which is actually in Calderdale, by planning ahead.
He said: “If you are going to build a new road, then you should be looking at mitigation and planning now.”
He described a lack of liaison between Kirklees, Calderdale and West Yorkshire Combined Authority, which will fund the new road and the “significant” widening it would require, as “a disconnect”.
“It’s one of the biggest schemes that Kirklees is project managing and it’s running contrary to its tree-planting ambitions as well as other policies,” he added.
“There should have been an environmental impact assessment when they planned it. Cabinet are ignoring that.”
The Kirklees Estate includes a stone folly, built in the 18th century, that is said to mark the reputed final resting place of medieval outlaw Robin Hood.
The council wants to increase its tree cover by 30 per cent, and plant between 170,000 and 257,000 trees on up to 444 acres of its land, as part of its contribution to the White Rose Forest programme.