Town traders up in arms

BIRSTALL traders are in uproar over a development they fear could be approved by the back door.

A shop is planned for premises facing the High Street car park, while attached buildings fronting onto Low Lane could be turned into flats.

Traders claim some work, like a new shop roof and rendering, has already been carried out without permission and against conservation area rules.

Now a planning application has gone in for the retail unit, leading to fears that the owner is seeking ‘retrospective’ permission.

Coun Andrew Palfreeman (Con, Birstall and Birkenshaw) said he wanted the proposal to go to the Heavy Woollen planning subcommittee.

He said: “This is a new application, but it seems to be seeking approval for work already done, which makes it retrospective in my book.

“Kirklees Council was about to serve an enforcement notice on the buildings when the planning application was made.”

The area is separated from neighbouring properties by an alleyway with steps leading from Low Lane up to High Street. 

Traders sent council planners a list of 23 objections, including parking spaces and CCTV coverage being lost at the High Street car park.

The Press tried contacting the developer, Mr S Singh, without success. But his agent, who did not want to be named or quoted, did respond.

He said his Birstallbased architectural design firm was brought in recently and is only involved with the shop.

The agent said the shop had a broken roof, which the developer replaced probably without knowing of the conservation area rules.      

That was before he came onto the project, but said the developer now intended to redo the shop roof and rendering.

A spokesperson for Birstall Chamber of Trade said: “We feel the developer has ridden roughshod over everyone, including the council. All the other traders have to comply with the conservation area rules, so why should he be any different?”

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