VILLAGERS and councillors have vowed to fight plans which could turn a rural valley into an urban commuter area and cut its income from tourism.
Holme Valley residents are the latest to object to Kirklees Council’s plan to build up to 37,000 homes across the borough.
The proposals come as part of the Local Development Framework (LDF) imposed by central government to increase housing and boost regional industry and commerce.
The plan has earmarked open land in Holme Valley South ward for up to 1,000 homes by 2026 in all its four options.
Half of the area’s “provisional open land” has been selected for building new homes.
Villages which could see significant new housing include Holmfirth, New Mill, Thongsbridge, Scholes and Hepworth.
While no green belt land has been picked, villagers say the plan could increase the ward’s built-up area by a quarter.
At a Holme Valley South (HVS) area committee meeting last week, residents expressed concern the area could become a dormitory commuter area unless job opportunities are improved in the ward.
Kirklees councillor Donald Firth said: “We think it’s a very rural area and I don’t want it turned into an urban area.
“Some of our drainage and sewerage is Victorian and is not capable of supporting 1,000 homes. We’re a farming community with small villages and narrow roads.
“I really think we need to be looking at getting some employment and enterprise in this area.”
Another villager said: “If you drive through Cheshire’s commuter belt you’ll see the villages and they are dead. We don’t want that here.”
Clr Ken Sims said Kirklees already got £380m from visitors every year because it was rural and picturesque. “We have to defend that because if we kill tourism we will kill a golden egg.”
But Council planners defended their position.
Patrick Auterson, policy manager for Kirklees development, planning and information, said: “Population trends say we need growth of this magnitude. It’s the reality of living in Great Britain. We have a population that’s growing.
“The latest information suggests that the number could be challenged as being too low.”