RESIDENTS in Brackenhall are strongly behind a bid to build a children's hospice in the area.

A few people had said they were unhappy with plans for the hospice on greenfield land close to Bradford Road near the new Ferndale estate.

But now it can be revealed that a petition with 1,076 names has been handed to Kirklees Council supporting the scheme.

Many of the signatures are people who live in Brackenhall and many have been fundraising for the hospice.

West Yorkshire Forget Me Not Trust is raising money to build the eight-bed respite centre and hospice for sick and terminally ill children.

The site is tucked away in a three-acre field owned by Kirklees Council, but leased to a local farmer.

Residents say nothing has been done with the field for decades - but about 50 years ago it was a hayfield.

The original plan was for access to the site from Bradford Road down a track which would have to be widened considerably and nine trees would need to be felled.

But following talks with Kirklees planners the access will be from newly-built Fell Grove which is part of the Ferndale estate.

Hospice supporter and one of the petition organisers, Margaret Lees, has lived at Brackenhall for more than 50 years.

She said: "The hospice can only be a good thing for Brackenhall and anyone against it is part of the not-in-my-backyard brigade.

"The site will be far better than it is now when the hospice has been built."

Mandy Barwick, the trust's fundraising manager, said: "We have not had the support from the heart of the Brackenhall community expressed so clearly before.

"It's amazing to get this backing and it's a wonderful surprise."

The planning application will be heard by Huddersfield Planning Committee on May 10.

The plans are for the respite centre and hospice to be eco-friendly, built of natural materials and to be energy-efficient.

Margaret said any letters of support should sent to Bill Topping at Kirklees Planning department at Civic Centre III.