PLANS to build thousands of homes in the green belt have been blasted by a community group.

Last week Kirklees Council began its public consultation into the 15-year plan to build 37,000 homes, create thousands of jobs and alter transport systems.

The Local Development Report, asked for by the Government, gives four options for each of the six Kirklees areas, Spen Valley, the Batley area, Dewsbury and Mirfield, Huddersfield, The Valleys, and Denby Dale and Kirkburton.

But only days after the plan was unveiled, Skelmanthorpe Community Action Group (SCAG) began a fight-back and implored residents to "act now to prevent the destruction of Skelmanthorpe".

Option three in the council’s plan, dubbed ‘Balancing development across the district’, targets Skelmanthorpe as one of the settlements to be greatly expanded.

If the option was implented, 2,400 homes would be built in Skelmanthorpe, nearly five times more than any of the other options.

A graphic of potential green belt usage shows all four sides of the village being expanded into the countryside.

A SCAG spokesman claimed option three would more than double the size of the village creating a ‘heavily congested town’.

He said: "This is a massive increase, which would result in not only the destruction of the environment, but huge increases in heavy goods traffic.

"In addition they propose that 35 hectares (around 90 acres) of green land should be used for business and industrial development.

"We would lose most of the green land surrounding the village.

"Traffic volumes would more than double, with the addition of the industrial area they would probably treble.

"The road system would not be able to cope and there is little scope to improve local roads.

"Parking would become a major problem and the sewage system would be inadequate. Where would a new system be built?

"There would be a huge increase in surface water from roads and roofs, where would this go? Currently all surface water runs into the Baildon Dike, which already floods at times of heavy rain."

The other three options, ‘Growth towns’, ‘Making the most of our economic prospects’ and ‘Reducing the impact of climate change’ place far less emphasis on expanding Skelmanthorpe, all three expanding it by roughly 500 homes.

Option three also targets Scissett and Clayton West as somewhere for potential expansion, seeing it grow by 800 homes, double the amount planned for the other options.

Meanwhile Denby Dale is only pencilled in for 300 new homes across all four options and Kirkburton 500.

The council’s report claims option three targets larger settlements in south Kirklees to take the development pressure off north Kirklees and north-east Huddersfield.

It says the approach allocates land for employment use close to towns with good motorway access and secures improvements for key transport corridors in order to reduce congestion.

The public consultation continues until Friday April 3 with displays from 3pm to 7pm in libraries, town halls and community centres across the region, including Huddersfield Methodist Mission on March 12, Holmfirth Civic Hall on March 18 and Kirkburton Hub on March 26.

For further venue information or to view detailed plans for the whole of Kirklees go online to:

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