‘Under pressure’ councillors have passed another controversial housing plan in what is being called a developers’ ‘free-for-all’.
At a fraught meeting at Dewsbury Town Hall, Kirklees councillors passed developer Ben Bailey Homes' plan for 34 houses on land off Kitson Hill Road, Mirfield.
And despite only one councillor voting against the proposal, others passing the proposal expressed reservations.
The decision was met with cries of ‘shame on you’ and ‘disgusting’ from neighbours who have been battling development on the site for years.
Many believe planning in Kirklees has descended into a ‘free-for-all’ for developers after the council’s Local Development Framework (LDF) was rejected in October.
Without an LDF – the blueprint for development in the borough – Kirklees Council is unable to demonstrate a five-year supply of land for housing.
Neighbours had claimed the development would put strain on Mirfield’s already stretched infrastructure, particularly its schools and surgeries.
Many objected to the development’s density, claiming the new houses would be too close to their properties.
Residents believed that endangered great crested newts had been living on the site, although this was disputed by Ben Bailey Homes.
Keith Andrews, who lives next to the site, said: “The roads are full, the doctors’ surgery is full, the dentists are full and the schools are full...
A speech by site landowner John Hinchliffe in favour of the development was met with jeers.
But starting a motion to approve the proposal, Clr Andrew Pinnock said: “It’s difficult because it’s an allocated site and is presumed in favour of development...
“We are under pressure because we don’t have a five-year land supply.”
Seconding the motion, Conservative councillor Christine Smith said: “Sometimes we’ve got to make harsh decisions as well as easy ones.
“In this instance I have to go along with Clr Pinnock.”
Expressing sympathy for neighbours of the site, committee chairman Paul Kane added: “We are under pressure all over this local authority.
“This is actually identified as a housing site; you might think it’s unacceptable.”
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