A JUNIOR football club has vowed to fight a firm over plans that would swallow up playing fields used by hundreds of youngsters.
Battyeford Sporting Club was on the verge of applying to the Football Foundation for a £450,000 grant for a new clubhouse on the site at Huddersfield Road, when textile firm John Cotton (Mirfield) set out proposals to build a warehouse on the land.
Club chairman Keith Johnson said: "Kirklees Council has supported us for six years in our work in developing the ground for community use. We have been open to everybody. We had a public meeting and planning notices were put up outside the site.
"Now, John Cottons have come crawling out of the woodwork at the 11th hour and 59th minute and rammed a spoke in the wheel," said Mr Johnson
People were incensed, he said.
It is understood that the land was originally owned by the Community of the Resurrection in Mirfield, who put a covenant on it that it be used by local people for recreational purposes.
David Rawcliffe, executive secretary of Battyeford Sporting Club said: "We will vigorously oppose any attempt to use the fields for any other purpose than that for which it is covenanted.
"It is our intention to either lead, or support, efforts to oppose this development by John Cotton via a petition, a public meeting and, possibly, a protest march."
The sports club had worked with Kirklees Council officials for more than six years on its clubhouse scheme.
A detailed planning application for the clubhouse project was submitted in July, but no decision has yet been made.
Mr Johnson urged local people to write to the council objecting to John Cotton's plans and to sign a petition.
Mark Cotton, commercial director at John Cotton, said he wanted to known whether it was even possible for his firm to build on the land.
"At certain times of the year it's full of seagulls paddling on the water.
"It is not a good place for a football pitch and I want to know if it is possible to put a warehouse on that site.
"It might not be impossible because of cost."
Mr Cotton said he was willing to work with the sports club to obtain new land for football.
Instead of three pitches they could possible have four or five better-quality ones.
He added: "I could put money into lighting, so they can play at night. We could also look at sponsorship.
"All of these things have not been discussed.
"I am actively wanting to work with them," added Mr Cotton.