A controversial charity and parish council came in for criticism as it sought consent for housing in Holmfirth.
Holme Valley Parish Council and its affiliated “alter ego” the Holme Valley Land Charity were slammed for submitting a planning application for a pair of semi detached houses on land adjacent to Sude Hill Terrace, New Mill.
It is used as a car park with two local ward members saying it has long been ‘common land’. There is also a dispute over who owns the land.
Councillors on Huddersfield’s Planning Committee voted seven against five and ruled they were minded to approve Holme Valley Land Charity’s bid for two semi-detached houses – although councillors don’t actually have a say.
The charity appealed to the Planning Inspectorate after feeling Kirklees was taking too long to rule on the plans.
However, a decision was only deferred at the last planning committee because ward councillors were listed for licensing training and unable to speak on behalf of constituents.
Kirklees received 174 letters about the plan while Colne Valley MP Jason McCartney opposed along with Clr Nigel Patrick.
Clr Patrick said the land had always been used as a car park, adding: “If this land is built it will displace car parking – the officer’s report does not address this issue. I believe this application should be refused on road safety grounds.
“Those on the parish council who allowed this should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves. For a parish council to put profit before community is, in my mind, a disgrace.”
Resident John Cole also slammed the parish council and it’s “alter ego” the Land Charity, saying: “There have been 174 objections which represents practically 100% of the immediate neighbourhood.
“This is very unpopular, it’s going to upset the whole community.”
He spoke of the community’s frustration that the parish council nor the land charity had consulted residents, adding: “This land has belonged to the community for over 200 years.”
During the councillors’ debate, Clr Ken Sims said he too was “disappointed” with the parish council which he said had failed in its duty of care to residents.
Clr Mohan Sokhal questioned why a parish council was not “looking after the community” but Clr Molly Walton said that despite the “impassioned pleas” the land was not owned by the community.
No-one from Holme Valley Parish Council nor the Land Charity spoke at Thursday’s meeting.