RESIDENTS are angry at plans to build a new sports centre which would see them lose part of their communal garden.
Kirklees Council wants to build a sports centre on half of Spring Grove Car Park at Springwood.
If the move goes ahead, the Sikh Temple at Prospect Street would need more parking spaces – which would be provided by taking away a section of the Millennium Garden opposite.
Hazel Spencer, of Spring Grove Street, wants to protect the garden.
She said: “It’s well-used, people come and have their lunch here because it’s got such a good view of Castle Hill and Golcar.”
The L-shaped garden was given to the people of Springwood by Kirklees Council in 2000. The site became overgrown, but was revived in 2008 by a group of concerned residents.
They secured £750 – including £450 from the Examiner – to build a shed and put in four benches and two picnic tables.
Nirmal Santoa, 60, who lives round the corner from the garden, has worked tirelessly to improve it, cutting back grass which had grown to more than 5ft.
But now the hard work is in jeopardy from the proposed £36m sports centre at nearby Spring Grove car park.
Earlier this month, Kirklees applied for planning permission for the centre, which would replace the existing one at Southgate.
But this would leave the Sikh Temple short of parking spaces. The temple has asked Kirklees for 33 parking spots on a section of land which includes part of Prospect Street and a four-metre wide strip of Millennium Garden.
Mrs Spencer said: “It’s not the temple’s fault, they need the parking because they have massive weddings and funerals. Our point is that we don’t want the sports centre.”
The secretary of Springwood and Greenhead Tenants and Residents Association added that the new parking arrangements would include surrounding the garden with a 6ft fence.
She said: “It’s taken us ages to get the garden right and now it would be surrounded by cars.”
But Balbir Singh, who runs the Sikh Leisure Centre at Prospect Street, believes the changes would improve the area.
He said: “The garden will gain some extra land at the other side by knocking down the old garage there. We would also knock down the derelict community centre next to the garden for parking space, so that would get rid of an eyesore.
“This is going to improve the area rather than make it worse.”
Mr Singh added: “I understand what the residents are saying about the wider issue of the sports centre.
“Millennium Garden is there for everyone. I raised funds for it when it was built 10 years ago.”