Land owners behind the Farnley Country Park bid have hit back at claims they just want to make cash from building on the green belt.
Farnley Estates revealed ambitious proposals to transform its 6,000-acre site in May into one of the best country parks in the UK.
A consultation has been underway for the past six weeks with thousands of people backing the idea.
But Estates boss Paul Sykes has now moved to see off some of the critics of the plan, particularly those who have raised concerns about the proposal to finance the park by selling some plots to housing developers.
He said: “From the comments we’ve received and seen on social media, there are a few misunderstandings and issues that we’d like to address.
“In truth, if we wanted to put our land forward to be considered for housing, we could do this without publicising the fact and without promising a country park – as many other Huddersfield land owners have done.
“Our motivation is to create a legacy for Huddersfield in the form of Farnley Country Park. Selling land within the fringe of the proposed park for housing, gives us the financial means to do this.
“Really what we’re saying is if, as the council has stated, it has to build on green belt, then use some of our land and get a country park out of it!”
Mr Sykes has also responded to claims the plan would ruin the countryside.
“We have no intention of destroying the very thing we want people to visit,” he said.
“Yes, we do want to bring more people on to the land, but in a managed, controlled way that will still allow farming and conservation work to continue. “Facilities will be in keeping with the countryside and environmentally sustainable in design.
“Since 2000, we’ve spent tens of thousands of pounds planting in excess of 75,000 trees and actually creating two new areas of woodland.
“While, in the future, we hope to provide some form of aerial adventure in a suitable woodland location we will not destroy any woodland.
“With regard to buildings, we have no intention of destroying historic buildings, quite the opposite.
“We’re looking at the possibility of resurrecting the old steam-driven mill – a site of real historical significance – and even the old brewery. It would be something if we could brew Farnley beer made from barley grown in our fields!”
Mr Sykes has also rejected the notion that people will be charged to walk on land that they can currently access freely.
“This will be a country park without walls,” he said.
“We will not charge people to enter Farnley Country Park. There will, however, be better footpaths, giving access for people in wheelchairs and with prams, as well as routes for cycling and riding.
“There are also large areas of Farnley Estates’ land that are currently private, and we plan to open this up, giving more people greater access.
“People would only pay for commercial activities, such as aerial adventure courses, camping and bike hire, for example.
“The aim is to attract people to the area and give them a reason to stay, which will bring economic benefits to Huddersfield.”
If you have any more questions, or to register your vote, please visit www.peopleforthepark.co.uk or email email@example.com.