Kirklees councillors call for more housing in Huddersfield

COUNCILLORS have revealed their views on a controversial house-building programme.

COUNCILLORS have revealed their views on a controversial house-building programme.

Kirklees Council is consulting residents on the Local Development Framework (LDF) which could lead to 28,000 new homes by 2028.

We asked the four main group leaders on Kirklees Council for their views.

The council’s town and valley committees will hold public meetings about the LDF in the next two weeks.

Dewsbury Committee: Dewsbury United Reform Church, Tuesday January 25 at 5pm.

Huddersfield Committee: Huddersfield Town Hall, Wednesday January 26 at 7pm.

Batley, Birstall and Birkenshaw Committee: Batley Town Hall, Thursday January 27 at 7.30pm.

Valleys Committee: Milnsbridge Baptist Church, Monday January 31 at 7pm.

Spen Valley Committee: Cleckheaton Town Hall, Tuesday February 1 at 7pm.

Mirfield, Denby Dale and Kirkburton Committee: Huddersfield Town Hall, Wednesday February 2 at 7.30pm.

Valleys Committee: St Bartholomew’s Church in Meltham, Wednesday February 3 at 7pm.

COUNCILLOR Kath Pinnock, who leads the opposition Lib Dems, stressed the need for new homes.

She said yesterday: “If you want your children to have somewhere in Kirklees to live, then we need more homes. How many is the issue.”

Clr Pinnock added that Kirklees needed to draw up an LDF as a successor to the previous blueprint, the Unitary Development Plan (UDP).

The Cleckheaton councillor said: “The UDP will no longer be enforceable if we abandon the new plan.

“If we want to protect our green belt and green fields, we need an LDF.

“Without an LDF there will be a free-for-all for developers.”

Clr Pinnock criticised opponents of the new framework.

She said: “A lot of the so-called information from them has been extraordinarily misleading. I saw one of their leaflets which claimed that all the new homes in the Colne Valley would be built on the green belt.”

THE plan for 28,000 new homes is not welcomed by Greens.

Clr Andrew Cooper, who leads the four-strong opposition Green group on Kirklees, believes 28,000 new houses is too high a figure.

The Newsome man said: “It’s going to be difficult to deliver that number of homes without affecting green fields and the green belt.

“The impact of that will be felt by everyone.”

Clr Cooper added: “We’re particularly concerned to protect the land below Castle Hill from development. “It’s an area of huge historic significance to the people of Huddersfield.”

Clr Cooper believes the LDF is too narrowly focussed on homes and jobs.

He said: “It should be about quality of life, transport and the value of our landscape. The LDF should be about ensuring that we don’t just have jobs and homes, but that we also have places we enjoy working in.

“I’m disappointed that the LDF doesn’t reflect that.”

COUNCILLOR Robert Light, who leads the opposition Conservatives, believes the figure is too high.

He said yesterday: “We recognise there’s a need for more land for housing and industry but we don’t necessarily accept what’s been put forward by the council.

“The Conservative position has always been that we should be looking for fewer new houses than the council has proposed.

“We think the level being looked at by Kirklees is unacceptable and not in the best interests of the borough.”

But the Birstall and Birkenshaw man added that councillors should listen to residents during the two-month consultation.

He said: “We want to hear the views of the public. The council needs to listen during this consultation – something which it doesn’t usually do.”

COUNCIL leader Clr Mehboob Khan pointed out that the LDF also included plans to allocate 140 hectares of land for industrial use.

The Greenhead Labour man said: “The LDF is not just about housing, it is about creating the place we want Kirklees to be over the next 18 years.

“This means looking at jobs, the economy, homes and where people want to live, our heritage and our green space.

“All these add to the quality of life for local people. But none of them happens in isolation – we have to consider how we can create the conditions that will attract jobs, desirable homes balanced by our desire to protect our countryside.”

Clr Khan added that the Government had instructed councils to come up with long-term development plans.

He said: “The Conservative government says we must have an LDF – but we have made it relevant for Kirklees.

“So we are concentrating on employment and attracting good quality jobs, and associated with that we have assessed roughly how many homes we think we will need for predicted population growth.

“The number of homes we have calculated is far lower than the Office of National Statistics estimate as we have applied local knowledge, and it is lower than in the previous LDF debated two years ago under the previous administration.”

Clr Khan added that he hoped people would take part in the consultation, which will run until February 6.

“It is now vital that the public join the debate because the future of our district is everyone’s responsibility,” he said.

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