Heritage at risk

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CAMPAIGNERS have just one week to object to controversial plans for a huge industrial development on the Clifton border.

In March Kirklees councillors approved a plan to allow 42 hectares of land at Cooper Bridge to be developed as part of its Local Development Framework.

But residents at Kirklees Estate say the development, which will be twice the size of the White Rose centre in Leeds, would turn the green belt land on the estate into a major M62 business park.

In the published documentation the land is referred to as Cooper Bridge but residents say it has given the wrong impression that the development will be sited on the other side of the A644, Wakefield Road, and not on the Kirklees Estate.

Maps published around one month ago show that the development will be only metres away from the reputed site of Robin Hood’s grave.

But no consultation was made with Calderdale Council according to Councillor Scott Benton (Con, Brighouse) or the residents at Kirklees Estate.

In Calderdale’s Local Plan the site outside the Holiday Inn is also being considered for a business park which will potentially mean there will be two business parks along the already busy Wakefield Road, Brighouse.

Victoria Morton, whose house overlooks the proposed site said it would have a detrimental effect on traffic congestion through Clifton and Hartshead as people start to use the area as a short-cut. “We have not been informed about this proposal at any point by Kirklees Council despite it effecting us directly. Eric Pickles said it is the right of local people to have a say and it is just not happening,” she said. “The plans say it will create jobs but some of them are through re-location so it doesn’t create jobs it just moves them.

“It says it is critical but it isn’t. There are a lot of brownfield sites and building on green belt will start to join all the rural communities together.”

Mrs Morton has now set up a petition with some of the residents to send a clear message that they have a right to be consulted, and that they do not support the destruction of greenbelt land. “I have seen supporting information from the Highway Agency that has reservation about the infrastructure,” she said. “The plans are not set in stone and the proposal could get bigger.”

Councillor Benton said: “‘It is fundamentally wrong that residents living in Clifton and Brighouse, who will be affected enormously by these plans, have not been consulted about this. Although the development is entirely within Kirklees, it runs along the boundary with Calderdale and its effects will be felt throughout the Brighouse area. As such, I feel strongly that people living within Calderdale should have been directly consulted about this and so will be submitting a petition to ensure that the voice of local people is heard and that Calderdale Council investigate what effect these proposals will have upon its residents.

“These proposals will destroy a significant area of green belt land and will create a continuous urban sprawl with Mirfield. It will significantly increase the traffic at junction 25 and along the Wakefield Road which could potentially bring Brighouse to a standstill. The proposals also fail to take into account the historic nature of the area with both the grave of Robin Hood and the beautiful grounds of the medieval Kirklees Hall in close proximity. They have been ill thought out and would have a disastrous impact upon our local environment.”

The site is currently up for sale with estate agents Strutt and Parker for around £7 million.

Petitions will be available at the Black Horse and Armytage Arms in Clifton until Saturday, October 27. The final deadline for objections to Kirklees Council is November 2.

The LDF plans have been agreed by councillors, but it must still be approved by a government inspector.