A MAN has won his battle to set up a military display area.
Kirklees councillors have unanimously given permission for the expansion of the Ponderosa rural therapeutic centre near Heckmondwike.
Its owner, businessman Howard Cook, can now add a display of army equipment, including tanks, at the site off Smithies Lane.
There will be a combat area, where groups can do battle in smaller laser tanks, as well as an assault course and tents to be used as classrooms.
The Ponderosa will continue to include a rare breeds farm that uses animals as part of activity sessions for disabled and disadvantaged children.
Kirklees Council’s Heavy Woollen Planning Sub-committee agreed to the expansion, despite being advised by planning officers to refuse permission.
A report by the officials said: “In the absence of very special circumstances the proposals, by virtue of the array of equipment on the scale proposed, represents inappropriate development in the Green Belt and would be considered detrimental to the openness and character of the Green Belt.”
But Mr Cook told sub-committee that disruption would be kept to a minimum.
He added: “The laser tanks are for kids, but we won’t be running the big tanks around the field.”
Mr Cook added that the development would benefit Heckmondwike.
He said: “How the council views this application will be a good indicator for the development of the town.”
Clr David Sheard, who lives near the site, spoke in support of the plan.
The Heckmondwike Labour man said: “There are no attractions in Kirklees for teenage boys, so this would enhance the area.”
The sub-committee voted to allow the development on the grounds that it was a special tourist attraction.