VILLAGERS are up in arms over sweeping plans to transform their district with grand scale house building.
Residents in Skelmanthorpe are getting together to fight the development.
The battle to block the Kirklees Council’s plans to build 37,000 homes and alter transport systems began in March when documents revealed that many villages in south Kirklees could be massively increased in size.
Planners argue that the plans would create thousands of jobs.
Big patches of green land – including some in official green belt – are also being considered for the homes project – part of the Government’s Local Development Framework (LDF).
Option three in the council’s plan, dubbed ‘balancing development across the district’, targets Skelmanthorpe as one of the settlements for massive growth.
If the option was implemented, 2,400 homes would be built in Skelmanthorpe – nearly five times more than under any of the other options.
A graphic of potential land usage shows all four sides of the village being expanded into the countryside.
Earlier this month more than 100 people crammed into a protest meeting in Scissett including Denby Dale councillor Jim Dodds and the prospective Conservative Party candidate for Dewsbury, Simon Reevell, to air their views and vote on the council’s proposals.
The meeting jointly called by four local community groups, Save Our Scissett (SOS), the Skelmanthorpe Community Action Group (SCAG), Denby Parish Community Action Group (DPCAG) and Keep Our Rural Spaces (KORS) saw residents vote to reject all four of the options proposed by the council by 105 votes to 11.
Voters also approved a bid for an independent study into housing needs throughout the Denby Dale ward.
Meeting chairman Christopher Ward from SCAG said: “The strength of feeling demonstrated tonight and the success of the meeting should leave nobody in any doubt as to the position of residents within the Denby Dale ward in regard to the LDF proposals.”
Following the meeting Mr Ward vowed to progress the village-by-village survey and produce their own Denby Dale parish housing and development plan to present to Kirklees Council.
Opposition to the housing plans has also come from Government minister and Dewsbury MP Shahid Malik.
The Justice Minister, whose constituency will include the Skelmanthorpe area following the next general election, met with members of the Skelmanthorpe Community Action Group and the Save Our Scissett groups last month.
Mr Malik is discussing large-scale housing renewal in Dewsbury but he believes it would not be suitable for Skelmanthorpe, Scissett or Clayton West.
He said: “We are unanimous in our belief that option three is completely unacceptable and I have given a firm commitment that I will fight it come what may.
“The idea that you double Skelmanthorpe with an additional 2,400 houses and then increase by 800 the number of homes in Clayton West and Scissett is a scandal and would have a devastating impact on the local environment, infrastructure and the community.”