VOTERS go to the polls on May 3 to elect 23 of the 69 members of Kirklees Council. In the first of a three-part series on the big campaign issues, local government reporter Barry Gibson looks at the controversial Local Development Framework
IT will shape Huddersfield for years to come.
So it’s no surprise that the Local Development Framework (LDF) has proved so controversial, inspiring marathon meetings and angry demonstrations this year.
Last month Labour, the Lib Dems and the two Holme Valley North independents backed the framework, which would allow 22,470 new homes to be built in Kirklees by 2028.
The Conservatives and the Greens voted against the blueprint.
Under the LDF, no green belt sites would be developed for housing around Huddersfield, but 1,500 homes would be allowed on protected land in Dewsbury.
The framework also allocates 122 hectares of new employment land.
With the next round of public consultation on the plan due in June, the LDF is proving a big issue in the run-up to next month’s election.
Clr Mehboob Khan, who leads the minority Labour administration of Kirklees, believes the deal reached last month balances the need for new housing with the desire to retain green belt land.
“Our plan means land for up to 22,470 new homes will be made available but new homes will only be permitted on two green belt sites in the district: 500 at Chidswell, and 1,000 in South Dewsbury,” he said.
“In Kirklees, 70 per cent of our land is green belt. The LDF plan permits just one per cent of that green belt to come forward for development, generating over £500m worth of investment by 2028.
“Making just that one per cent of our greenbelt available at strategic sites across the district protects our valuable green spaces in urban areas.”
Clr Khan added that the LDF was vital to attract new jobs to Huddersfield.
“We need a local plan to safeguard and create employment opportunities – on the doorsteps of Kirklees – people are telling me that the economic climate is their single biggest worry,” he said.
Clr Kath Pinnock leads the 14-strong Lib Dems who backed the LDF at last month’s meeting.