Green Belt land in Kirklees should be developed if it helps successful firms expand, a councillor believes.

Clr Jim Dodds says there is a growing case for using Green Belt land to help firms whose order books are full but can’t expand in their current location.

The Conservative councillor for rural Denby Dale said “bold decisions” have to be taken and a debate was needed now, not in a year’s time when Kirklees draws up its planning and land use blueprint.

Cllr Jim Dodds
Cllr Jim Dodds
 

Clr Dodds emphasised it was his own personal view, adding: “I know of five local firms in the Denby Dale ward with full order books. They need to expand but they can’t in their current location.

“If it was the choice of these firms moving out of the Denby Dale ward or keeping them and using some Green Belt land then I think we should help them to stay.

“I don’t want to see them leave this ward and maybe even Kirklees. I want to keep the jobs local.

“In the failed Local Development Framework (LDF) there was some land in Clayton West set aside for commercial use, so it has already been agreed.

“We’ve got to think outside of the box and consider doing things we wouldn’t normally do.

“I emphasise this is my own personal view and my opinion alone. Others have a right to feel differently but we need the debate.

“Obviously I understand not everyone will agree but I hope people can understand my concerns. Keeping businesses and jobs in Denby Dale is paramount and that’s my starting point.”

The councillor took some ribbing from opponents at a full meeting of Kirklees Council.

Clr Cathy Scott, Labour’s Cabinet member for place, told him: “It’s a shame you didn’t feel this way at the time of the LDF.”

Clr Dodds replied: “It’s not the same as saying we should use the Green Belt for housing. Places like Scissett have already taken too much without any infrastructure improvements such as roads and schools so it just creates more problems.

“We’re getting the wrong sort of houses in the wrong place.

“The economic vision presented to us at council was brilliant but we need to ensure we can act now not in nine months’ time.”

Clr Dodds said his advice to the firms looking to expand was: “Get in touch with Kirklees, talk to us about the issues and see what facilities are available to help.”

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