Land owners behind Farnley Country Park had offered to drop 90% of their housing demands to make the park a reality, the Examiner can reveal.
A week on from the disappointment that their dream project is over, Farnley Estates bosses have unveiled what could have been.
The proposal to create a new £150m leisure facility on land around Farnley Tyas was included in the first draft of the controversial Local Plan in 2015.
But it was mysteriously dropped from the second draft, which is set to be submitted to the planning inspectorate next year.
The park could have created 400 jobs and boosted Kirklees’ tourism income by millions.
Last year Farnley Estates said it needed five green belt plots on its land unlocked as part of the Local Plan, on which developers could build about 900 homes.
The cash generated would be pumped into providing the park facility for Kirklees.
Farnley Estates chiefs have now disclosed that they tried to do a last ditch deal which would have seen just one plot sold for housing, at the junction of Woodsome Road and Penistone Road.
The site would have accommodated 130 homes, the park’s “hub” building and the car parking.
Gardening firm Armitage’s was set to open a store on the site, creating 100 jobs.
Farnley Estates director, Paul Sykes, said they were still reeling from the decision after eight years of planning and two years of discussions with Kirklees.
And despite councillors’ claims that the Local Plan is non-political he believes a lack of political support is ultimately what cost the people of Huddersfield a free park.
The park would have featured cycling facilities, marked walks and access to the countryside for the disabled and prams.
“Not one politician put his head above the parapet for us and because of that it was probably easier to leave us out,” said Mr Sykes.
“This wouldn’t have cost Kirklees a penny and it’s gone.
“I just find the whole thing very odd when they’re cutting down on so many things for people to do.
“And I find it bizarre that it had no political support.
“I think it’s a huge loss for the area.
“I wish more people had known we were prepared to reduce it and maybe we would have had more support.”
At one point Farnley Estates had hoped to provide about 1,900 homes – a similar amount to those proposed on Bradley Park golf course.
Jeanette Dyson, communications manager for Farnley Estates, said: “Our original argument was, if you’re going to build on green belt you might as well get something out of it.
“Green belt is now being built on and Huddersfield is getting nothing in return.
“We can understand people objecting to houses but the park itself was just giving something back to Huddersfield.”
Mr Sykes added: “What Huddersfield would have gained would have been more than they would have lost.
“We accept that people don’t like housing anywhere in Kirklees. I get why they don’t want the housing but I don’t get why they didn’t want the park.”
Mr Sykes said they will still aim to help schools and disabled children, such as those from Castle Hill, access their land.
And he said if any cycling groups could get funding they would consider offering their support to create some kind of course.
The Farnley Estates team would like to thank the 8,800 people who voted in favour of having the park in a survey in 2015.
“We’re sorry that we couldn’t deliver it,” said Mrs Dyson.