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Public inquiry into Kirklees Council's 15-year blueprint for new homes and industry set to start

Months of hearings planned for proposed Kirklees Local Plan

Some of the land made available for house building in Kirklees Council's new Local Plan

Planning inspectors will begin the public inquiry into Kirklees Local Plan next week.

After years of work by council officials, the long process of reviewing Kirklees Council’s 15-year plan for building homes, offices and industrial parks is set to begin on Tuesday.

Planning inspectors have set up a schedule of hearings that will continue into early 2018.

The council’s blueprint to allow 31,000 new homes sent shockwaves through numerous communities when it was first announced two years ago.

Huge areas of green space were earmarked for new homes, including Kirklees’ only public golf course at Bradley Park, a large section of open countryside between Ravensthorpe and Mirfield and green belt land at Chidswell, Dewsbury.

Bradley Park Golf Course

Dozens of campaign groups have sprung up and launched objections to plans in almost every area of the borough.

Overall, the official consultation for the controversial plan attracted more than 17,000 comments, mostly objections.

The independent review of the plans and the comments will start at the Hudawi Centre in Huddersfield on October 10.

It will involve a four stage process with inspectors scrutinising different aspects of the plan.

While the examination of the Local Plan is in public, members of the public cannot turn up ad-hoc to give their thoughts unless they lodged a comment at the official consultation that sought to change the plan.

Local Plan - map showing recent development in each area of Kirklees

Planning inspectors Katie Child and Elizabeth Hill have invited people who registered an interest in particular sites to hearings on certain days.

A schedule of hearings is available on the Kirklees Council website.

Cabinet Member for Strategic Planning, Clr Peter McBride, said: “The task is to ensure the Local Plan is legal and sound – this is a normal part of the process.”

He added: “If the Local Plan document needs to be modified to be found ‘sound’, there is the possibility that further hearings might be likely after the four stages we are aware of.”

The four stages agreed by the inspector so far are:

Stage 1 – Legal and procedural, issues, strategy, green belt with hearings from week beginning October 9 and week beginning October 16;

Stage 2 – Minerals and waste, hearings in weeks beginning November 13 and November 20;

Stage 3 – Planning policies - hearings in weeks beginning December 11 and December 18;

Stage 4 – Site allocations and designations on dates to be set in early 2018.

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