MIRFIELD residents are celebrating after developers behind plans for a controversial multi-million-pound business park have dramatically reviewed the proposals.
Park Crescent, which owns the Slipper Lane site, and its project manager organisation, Urban Evolution, have made massive changes to the planned 30-acre development set to include offices and manufacturing space.
Protesters, led by action group Mirfield 25 (M25), have spent two years fighting the plans. They are delighted their concerns have finally been addressed and led to big changes.
Following six months of consultation with residents the developers have removed the car showroom, hotel and significant business space from their plans. More than half the site will be covered by a retirement community.
Further meetings have been held with residents and local politicians to discuss other details, including landscaping, lighting, security and footpaths.
Dewsbury MP Shahid Malik has backed the residents’ campaign.
He said: “My sole objective has been to ensure that the voices of local people are heard and that they get the chance to shape and influence the development on the site.
“I asked the developers to go back to the drawing board and deal with objections to a major increase in traffic congestion, environment degradation and the visual impact.
“I have gone to great lengths to stress to the developers the need for input and consent from local people. I am pleased the developers have risen to the challenge and agreed to build in significant changes to their original plans.”
Residents criticised the development for creating an estimated 50% increase in traffic using Stocks Bank Road and congestion in Slipper Lane.
They also said the industry-heavy development on greenfield land would not be in keeping with the character of the area.
Following their objections the developers were challenged to find a draft scheme for consultation that would be visually pleasing and less intrusive and substantially reduce traffic while still creating good job opportunities and creating facilities from which the community will benefit.
Malc Brown, chairman of Mirfield 25, said: “This new proposal is an exciting and challenging development; exciting in the sense that it is innovative, imaginative and more in keeping with the local area and challenging in the sense that the proposal is not as clear-cut.
“We are very pleased to have been a catalyst in bringing about this change and as a group were are, in principle, still opposed to the development.
“We do, however, have to recognise that things have moved. We therefore welcome this consultation as an opportunity to hear from the people effected by the development.”
A Park Crescent statement said: “We underestimated the depth of public interest in the site and following representations from Mr Malik and M25 it was clear a radical rethink was necessary.
“We believe the new masterplan best reflects the requirements to retain some meaningful employment, reduce traffic and preserve visual amenity.”
The development is still subject to formal planning procedure and a decision by Kirklees Council’s Planning Committee.
A public exhibition is being held at Christ The King Church in Battyeford, starting tomorrow, to show the results of the consultation and give the public the chance to raise matters with the developers.
The exhibition runs from 10am to 4pm tomorrow, noon to 8pm on Friday and from 9am to 11.30am on Saturday.