A MOUNTAIN rescue team will have a new base in a village park, despite objections from residents.
Councillors last night gave Holme Valley Mountain Rescue Team permission to build a new headquarters in Meltham.
The rescue team won the right to erect a 16.5sqm one-storey building made of natural stone and cedar boarding on an informal allotment site in Robert Ashton Memorial Park.
The 38-strong team answers an average of 18 calls a year from its current temporary base at Marsden Fire Station.
Kirklees Council’s Planning and Highways Committee granted permission yesterday despite objections from residents.
James Taylor, who lives in nearby Meltham Hall, told councillors: “The majority of residents are elderly people and if there were any problems with security it would cause great stress. There are other places in Meltham where the base could be built.”
Mike North told the committee he objected to the appearance of the proposed building.
“I have no objection to Holme Valley Mountain Rescue Team, I think they do a great job,” he said.
“It’s an industrial-style building in a local park.”
He added: “Youths will use it to cause further disturbance.”
Meltham Town Council offered Holme Valley Mountain Rescue Team the park site for a peppercorn rent.
But Steve Martin asked Kirklees Council to allow him to keep his allotment at the site of the proposed new building.
“There is an unmet demand for allotments; I know at least three people who would love to have an allotment on the site,” he said.
Clr Terry Lyons, who is a member of Kirklees Council and Meltham Town Council, spoke in favour of the development at yesterday’s meeting at Huddersfield Town Hall.
“The rescue team have turned out to save people’s lives on many occasions and in all conditions,” he said.
“Can we ignore their plea for help?”
Clr Lyons added: “The allotment has been neglected and pretty much a tip for years.
“The present owners have been allowed to use it free of charge and they haven’t really tried to work it.”
The committee voted four to two to allow the base to be built.
Conservatives Clr Donald Firth of Holme Valley South and Clr Adrian Murphy from Kirkburton voted in favour, as did Labour men Clr Mohan Sokhal from Greenhead and Clr Steve Hall of Heckmondwike.
Cleckheaton Lib Dem Clr Andrew Pinnock and Kirkburton Conservative Clr Christine Smith voted against.