A ROW over a controversial housing development in Mirfield could leave protesters rejoicing.

Planning officials are recommending refusal of Castle Hall School's application for a fourth time.

The school has applied for permission for 30 houses to be built in the grounds along with a sports hall, all-weather pitch, a tennis/netball court and parking.

The school has teamed up with developer Magellan Residential, of Shepley, to submit plans for the houses on land at the Towngate end of the school playing fields.

In return, the school would benefit from the deal with the £2.5m sports facilities.

But the latest plan submitted to Kirklees Council's Heavy Woollen area Planning Sub-committee is recommended for refusal when councillors meet on Thursday.

A report being presented to the 9.45am meeting at Dewsbury Town Hall says highways officials are worried about the implications of the extra traffic on road safety, particularly at the junction of Camm Lane and Towngate.

The education service also says there is not enough capacity at Crowlees Junior and Infant School to accommodate extra children from the proposed housing development.

Also, the site of the proposed houses is designated as urban green space in the council's planning blueprint, the Unitary Development Plan.

But Sport England does not object, provided that the sports facilities are available for community as well as school use.

Mirfield Town Council also supports the application, subject to highways agreement.

But many Mirfield residents are against the proposed development and Kirklees has received 736 protest letters.

They complain about the loss of an open space in a built-up area, the loss of a site with wildlife value and the impact of the additional traffic on such things as drainage, schools and doctors.

The protesters also feel that the community benefit from the improved facilities at the school will not outweigh the harm caused by the loss of land.

The planning officials' report says the catalyst for the application was the school's Ofsted report in 1998, which criticised its indoor sports facilities.

The school says the only realistic way of finding cash for new sports facilities is by developing the land.