Opponents of a huge country park plan have dubbed it a “Trojan horse” for housing in the green belt.
The plan to create more outdoor facilities on land around Farnley Tyas was revealed by Farnley Estates last June.
The land owning Sykes family said they would create the park if they could finance it through land sales to developers.
Farnley Estates hope two large sites near Penistone Road at Fenay Bridge can be used for about 900 homes.
An adjacent plot off Woodsome Road would be used for the park’s car parking and ‘hub’ building and visitor centre.
The green belt plots failed to make it into Kirklees Council’s draft Local Plan but Farnley Estates has said it hopes they will be re-considered following the consultation process, which runs until February 1.
But the move has sparked the launch of a new campaign to fight the country park proposal.
A coalition of Farnley Tyas Community Group, Thurstonland Village Association and Castle Hill Civic Society has been formed, dubbed the Community Steering Group for Local Sustainable Development (CSGLSD).
Spokesman Martin Laithwaite said: “The country park is a Trojan horse designed to maximise housing and commercial development in the area between Honley, Lepton, Shepley and New Mill.
“It could provide a licence for significant developments that have not been assessed in the Local Plan.
“The existing area is a wonderful enjoyable landscape with reasonable access and many fine walks.
“It is hard to see how country park status improves this. Indeed a ‘Farnley Theme Park’ is almost guaranteed to harm the local area’s attractiveness and distinctiveness.
“The public benefits of a commercial expansion of the landscape have been exaggerated and the risks have not been publicised at all.
“There is no financial commitment from Farnley Estates, only rhetoric.
“A park would be financed by housing in the green belt that it also claims to safeguard.
“Once the Local Plan and new housing have been fully approved in 2017, there are no guarantees what, if anything, will be delivered.
“The park may not happen at all, or it could include almost any commercial attraction that might be profitable.”
The protest group also say there has been no assessment of the requirements and impact of a country park in the Local Plan, only a presumption that it would be a good thing nor had there been any canvassing of other landowners who would need to enable the proposed new wide track over most of its 17 miles.
Mr Laithwaite said he was pleased that Kirklees Council had so far not ventured from planning policy despite including the boundary of the park in the Local Plan.
“The council should be commended on playing a very straight bat on this so far,” he added.
“At the moment their plans are rejected and we want to keep them rejected.
“The worry is that Farnley Estates are continuing to campaign to get the rejected sites back in the plan.”
The team behind the Farnley Country Park plan have said they are mystified why people don’t want leisure facilities improved.
Paul Sykes, director of Farnley Estates Ltd, said: “We can understand that people will object to housing, but why would anyone object to Farnley Country Park?
“Why do people think it’s wrong to improve access to the countryside by providing free-to-access paths for people with prams and wheelchairs?
“Isn’t it a good thing to increase outdoor education opportunities for children and young people, giving them more opportunity to learn about nature and conservation?
“Why do cycle paths, rural pursuits and outdoor leisure activities cause offence? Especially when we’re all told we live more sedentary lifestyles these days.
“What’s wrong with giving people from north Huddersfield and further afield a reason to visit this beautiful area? “Yes, we have to sell the three areas of land we’ve identified for housing so that we can fund and maintain Farnley Country Park.
But we made people aware of this approach from the start.
“What we’d like people to understand is that we’re not talking about ‘additional’ housing.
“Kirklees must allocate these houses somewhere, to meet the 35,000 homes needed over the next 20 years.
“The only difference is, if they’re located in somebody else’s back yard, the people of Huddersfield will get nothing in return.
“Our stance is, if you have to build on green belt then get a country park out of it.
“In all honesty, we’d object to the ‘Amusement Park’ that those fighting the idea seem to think we want to create, and we’ve addressed most issues at www.farnleycountrypark.co.uk.
“We’d urge people to speak to us for the true facts, rather than these assumptions and accusations.
“We’re only a small, local team but you’ll see how passionate we are about this stunning countryside, and how we want to make Farnley Country Park something for the people of Huddersfield to be proud of.”