It’s long proven controversial, but councillors have now backed a £10m housing and industry plans for Mirfield.

A six-strong panel of councillors gave the go-ahead for 166 houses on greenfield off Slipper Lane as well as the principle for employment units to be built.

It came despite 278 people objecting, a 527-strong petition and Mirfield Town Council opposing the development.

Iain Bath, planning agent at Dove Haigh Phillips, said it would create 179 construction jobs plus 268 full-time jobs once the employment site was in use.

Dual industry and housing will add £10m to the local economy, he said.

Mike Dove, partner at the same firm, said eight major firms were in talks about the site.

He said: “We are having active discussions with potential purchasers for the majority of plots.”

Among the firms interested were a health care product firm currently based near Dewsbury; a Huddersfield engineering firm; a Brighouse valve manufacturer; a textile company; an Elland engineering firm; a Calderdale contractor; plus a Bradford and a Leeds firm.

Approved development on Slipper Lane in Mirfield.
Approved development on Slipper Lane in Mirfield.
 

Residents and local councillors outlined to the Strategic Planning Committee a host of objections against the plans.

Christine Sykes said: “Mirfield has made a significant contribution to the housing stock in Kirklees out of proportion to its size.”

Mike Townend added: “Roads are already saturated.”

Businessman Tim Connolly said staff avoided trips at certain times as it cost the business time and money stuck in traffic.

He also said Mirfield had 14 people per hectare, above the 10 people per hectare in Kirklees and national average of four.

Clr Martyn Bolt, via a letter read by Clr Kath Taylor, said public confidence in planning was low, adding: “This has been marketed for the last 14 years ... it seems no-one is willing to put their name to it.”

The committee was told that viability issues saw the £500,000 offered by the developer in Section 106 agreements – a planning obligation which requires financial contributions to be made – increased to £1.4m after negotiations.

Clrs Tony Brice and Bill Armer (both Conservative) voted against the plan, citing highway and traffic concerns.

Clrs Steve Hall, Paul Kane, Mohan Sokhal (all Labour) and Clr Andrew Pinnock (Lib Dem) voted for it.

Clr Sokhal argued that they were under government pressure for more housing, adding: “I welcome the jobs ... it’s £10m to the local economy.”

The agreement means that employment land groundworks will be done before the first house is completed.

The houses can then be built, while a full application will be needed for the employment use layout and design.