PLANS to transform an ancient woodland into a combat zone are gathering pace in Beaumont Park.
Preparations are under way in Butternab Woods to stage war games for groups of keen military enthusiasts.
It is understood the first event will take place this Sunday.
But local residents are opposed to the plans.
Huddersfield Team Death Match Airsofting will be running the weekly events – which use air-powered replica firearms to fire plastic pellets in realistic combat scenarios.
Under planning laws, the group is allowed to hold combat events for up to 28 days a year without seeking permission from Kirklees Council.
The move has caused concern among local residents living close to the historic woods.
Jim Gillan, of Delves Wood Road, said: “With a public right of way running through the woods, the idea of having people running around is not something anybody welcomes.
“The wood is simply unsuitable so close to a residential area and being of that size.
“The airsoft replica rifles are definitely not that safe if you look on sites like YouTube and you can clearly see why participants have to wear protective clothing.
“It is stark raving bonkers.”
He also highlighted the environmental impact on the woodland which is home to wildlife including bats, birds and insects and includes tree preservation orders.
Huddersfield Team Death Match Airsofting indicates plans on its website to also host large-scale events which last for a day and even a whole weekend.
Participants will be issued with the latest British Army S95 clothing, a facemask and given an battery operated automatic electric gun (AEG), complete with 1,000 rounds to shoot.
Events were scheduled to start on May 5 and 6, but have been postponed.
The Examiner tried to contact Huddersfield Team Death Match Airsofting but nobody was available for comment.
James Swanbury, joint master of the Colne Valley Beagles which owns the woodland, said: “Nobody is going to go over the boundary because it will be taped off and marshalled.
“If anyone’s children wander into the area they will be nowhere near where you have the shooting.
“The backs of the houses are aligned with thick holly. There is just no danger of any children wandering into the area.
“On the Butterwood Close and Huntsman’s Close side, the airsofting lads have said they have no interest in that area at all because it is too steep and therefore unsuitable for them to use.
“I don’t know when it is going to start. They were scheduled for last weekend but were postponed.”