PEOPLE living in Kirklees have been asked for their views on a multi-million pound retirement village.

Builder Howard Cook says the £30m scheme, off Smithies Lane, Heckmondwike, would be the most advanced, eco-friendly development of its kind.

He has sent out more than 23,000 leaflets to residents asking them to back the scheme.

And if it gets the green-light from Kirklees Council planners, Mr Cook aims to get started on building work later this year.

But there is already opposition from local residents who have vowed to fight the plans, which they claim will ruin an area of Green Belt.

Batley and Spen Labour MP Mike Wood is backing the protestors along with Conservative parliamentary hopeful Janice Small and prospective councillor Robert Thornton.

The leaflets claim the retirement village would be the first of its kind in the UK and would employ the latest eco-friendly technologies in the construction of the 180 homes.

The development, located on the site of an old quarry and sewerage works, would be self-sustaining with energy provided by biomass boilers burning woodchips from fast-growing willow trees landscaping the estate.

The scheme is the brainchild of Howard Cook, owner and philanthropist behind the Ponderosa Rare Breeds Farm, Rural Therapeutic Centre and Visitors Centre at the Heckmondwike site.

In his leaflet delivered to residents he said: “I believe Ponderosa Village offers a unique chance to address major local issues of concern, as well as creating massive local opportunities, a sense of community and huge environmental benefits.

“As the UK’s first eco retirement village, this development will firmly establish the area on the national map, setting a shining example on how to build and create harmonious eco-friendly communities.

“Job creation and regeneration will be at the forefront of this scheme – a real boost for the local economy with positive knock-on benefits to businesses in the area.

“This scheme will be a first, not only in its high environmental standards, but also in creating a cohesive community by integrating people of all ages.”

Environmental features of the scheme include locally-sourced carbon neutral building materials, water conservation schemes, recycling, roof gardens and bio-diverse landscaping to encourage wildlife.

Mr Cook says the scheme would create more than 300 construction jobs and up to 200 apprenticeships.

Once completed, more than 50 full and part-time jobs would be available to maintain the village and care home.

To comment on the proposal to Kirklees Council log onto: