COUNCILLORS will today (12/1/12) decide whether to grant planning permission for a retirement ‘eco-village’.
The proposed Ponderosa Retirement Village, off Smithies Lane, Heckmondwike, covers a site of around nine hectares made up mostly of fields near the Ponderosa Rural Therapeutic Centre rare breeds farm and Visitors Centre.
The proposed build includes 145 homes and a care home for 50 people, as well as a convenience store, post office, pharmacy, hairdresser, restaurant, cafe and public transport links.
The village, if it is built, will become the first carbon neutral retirement village in Kirklees and, according to Ponderosa, the first in the UK.
Eco-features include photovoltaic solar panels, rainwater harvesting and other new technologies to reduce its water and energy consumption.
Kirklees Council’s Planning and Highways Committee will today THU decide whether to follow council officers’ recommendations to approve the multi-million pound scheme.
The village has been designed to meet Government sustainability targets.
As part of the project, the former sewage treatment works next door will be converted into the ‘Dewsbury Domes’ – 26 connected green units with educational, environmental, scientific, charitable and social enterprise themes.
Half of the domes will be developed into indoor fish farms and aquaponic horticulture units, to provide case studies for schools, colleges and universities.
The whole project is expected to create 200 jobs, 120 of which will be long-term positions.
The scheme is the brainchild of Howard Cook, owner and philanthropist behind the Ponderosa Rural Therapeutic Centre and Visitors Centre at the site.
Mr Cook said: "It’s not just a retirement village on the application. It’s for the whole community and for young people as well.
"We’re creating an apprentice scheme and a whole host of things.
"The Domes will be a number one attraction in Yorkshire."
The application site adjoining Smithies Lane to the north and Lodge Lane to the south.
Three fields make up about six of the nine hectares of the site, the remainder being made up of about one hectare each of woodland, former quarry and hard standing. It is proposed that the woodland will remain.
A previous application for the site in 2009 was rejected by the council.
Proposals to build a 300-home retirement village on the former Storthes Hall Hospital site stalled earlier this month – almost seven years after the development was first mooted.
Developers Storthes Hall CCRC would have to pay an affordable housing subsidy of £3.675m to Kirklees Council to meet the terms.
But the company has applied to have the condition removed from their contract.