A councillor has claimed a Holmfirth site earmarked for housing contains dangerous toxic waste.

But the owners of the land, a former tip, have strenuously denied there are any concerns.

The abandoned Midlothian Garage plot was owned by Tesco but was sold last year after its controversial store plan was turned down in 2013.

With 56 homes and a care home planned, Holme Valley South Tory Clr Ken Sims, warned the site was contaminated as it had once been Holmfirth’s tip.

Kirklees Cllr Ken Sims.
Kirklees Cllr Ken Sims.

But the majority of the members of Kirklees Council’s strategic planning committee ignored his claims and approved a plan to build homes and a care home off New Mill Road, Holmfirth.

An expert on land contamination employed by the applicant said there were no serious contamination issues.

Prior to the decision, Clr Sims said: “In those days these tips were not sealed properly. That’s the disturbing part about this site.

“It’s a nonsense that two feet of soil is going to do anything to alleviate the seepage.”

Clr Sims claimed there would be arsenic, mercury and other acids in the ground as it had been used as a tip for 50 years.

Levels of methane gas have been detected but council officials have said they will be monitored more closely if building begins.

Owner of the land, Rob Cooke of Otley based Prospect Estates Ltd, said Clr Sims was completely wrong and there was no danger.

Rob Cooke surveys the derelict site of the former Midlothian Vauxhall garage, Holmfirth.

He said: “There’s absolutely no problems whatsover in terms of ground contamination.

“We will clearly demonstrate that over the next three months.

“Additional testing will be carried out and is ongoing. This site is perfectly suitable for residential and a care home.”

He added: “Clr Sims is completely ill informed about this.

“If we hadn’t done the intrusive testing we have done I could probably see where he’s coming from.”

Mr Cooke said they would not be allowed to go ahead if any contamination had been found.

Rob Cooke surveys the derelict site of the former Midlothian Vauxhall garage, Holmfirth.

He said waste from the tip, which is thought to have been closed in the early 1970s, was predominantly ash as people burned most of their rubbish in those days.

At the planning meeting, Holmfirth councillor Donald Firth, also objected to the plan.

READ MORE: Just seven objections to homes on site of failed Holmfirth Tesco

READ MORE: New homes plan for failed Holmfirth Tesco site lodged with Kirklees Council

The veteran Tory said the plan was like “squeezing a quart into a pint pot” and said it would increase the traffic jams on the road in rush hour.

Both councillors said they would prefer to see light industry use the plot of the former garage.

But five members of the committee disagreed and it was passed by five votes to two.

Mr Cook said a number of house builders had shown interest in the site and more details would be available later in the year.