Campaigners fighting to save green fields in Mirfield are bidding to buy the land from developers.

Bellway Homes – one of the UK’s biggest house builders – is believed to have owned the land off Hepworth Lane for many years.

In November the company revealed plans to build 136 new homes, much to the anger of local residents.

Now a new campaign group, Project Mirfield, has been set up – and has secured funds to make an offer for the site.

Mr Steve Benson, chairman and founder of the group, refused to reveal how much was available or who had put up the money.

But he said: “Project Mirfield has the funds in place and we will be sending a letter of intent to Bellway.

“We have enough to buy the 11.2 acres at an average cost of agricultural land.”

The site – known locally as Balderstone Fields – has proved controversial in the past.

Bellway had plans to build homes in the late 1990s but lost a public inquiry in 1999.

Hundreds turned out in opposition under the slogan: ‘No Way Bellway’.

In November, Bellway announced plans to build 116 homes accessed from Woodward Court, close to Crossley Fields Junior and Infant School. Another 20 would be accessed off the narrow Hepworth Lane.

No planning application has yet been submitted but residents are gearing up for another battle.

More than 80 residents turned out on the site on Monday to support the buy-back bid.

Mr Benson, a self-employed construction project manager, said: “This was a show of strength. For so many people to come out in the wind and rain and stand in a field sends out a message to Bellway.

Residents turn out against Bellway Homes' plans for a new housing estate off Hepworth Lane, Mirfield. Project Mirfield chairman Steve Benson (front right) with Badger the collie and Mayor of Mirfield Clr Vivien Lees-Hamilton (front centre) and Clr Martyn Bolt (front, red coat).
Residents turn out against Bellway Homes' plans for a new housing estate off Hepworth Lane, Mirfield. Project Mirfield chairman Steve Benson (front right) with Badger the collie and Mayor of Mirfield Clr Vivien Lees-Hamilton (front centre) and Clr Martyn Bolt (front, red coat).
 

“Mirfield’s roads and infrastructure just cannot cope with any more houses.”

Mr Benson, who has lived in Mirfield for 12 years, said the bid was a genuine offer to Bellway.

“Bellway have owned the land for many years and we are giving them an easy way out,” he said.

“They must know the fight will be bigger than last time and Mirfield doesn’t want them.”

Former Mirfield Labour councillor Michael Hutchinson, who attended the public inquiry last time, said he would join the fight again.

“I will wait to see what the planning application shows but unless the developers come up with something startling, I will oppose it again on highways grounds,” he said.

“The roads are narrow and Hepworth Lane is so narrow it is one-way at the top and there are no pavements.”

If Project Mirfield secures the land it promises a 99-year ‘no build’ pledge.

More than 100 people have joined Project Mirfield in just four weeks.

For more information see www.projectmirfield.co.uk or join the group on Facebook.

Mr Benson said: “This is our chance to shape Mirfield. Everyone gets a say in our group.”

No one at Bellway was available for comment until after the New Year.