Club concern over homes plan

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A rugby league team fears for the future of its headquarters as plans to build 34 homes next to Birkenshaw Liberal Club are due to be approved.

Members of Kirklees Council’s Strategic Planning Committee could not reach a majority decision about whether to give developer Atkin Enterprises approval – but chairman Coun Paul Kane, who had the final say, offered it the thumbs up.

Council-owned space next to the Liberal Club has been used as an unofficial car park for as many as 90 cars for weekend Birkenshaw Bluedogs junior games for around 15 years.

But if a development is built, club members worry that vehicles will spill out into the village on match days.

Concerns were also raised about whether delivery vehicles could access the club during peak times because Croft Street is so narrow.

Birkenshaw Blue Dogs senior secretary Simon Armitage said: “The club is an integral part of the community. Everybody appreciates there’s got to be regeneration but the actual plans have not been thought through.

“I do worry about it because it’s in such close proximity to such a heavily-used facility. It’s destined for conflict.”

During the meeting last Thursday, member Ian Stuart said: “We need the Liberal Club as our home and our headquarters, we don’t feel this will be possible if we don’t have any car parking.”

Coun Andrew Pinnock said the site was designated for housing so there was no way of getting around the principle of development, but a number of issues had been identified.

He said: “I at the moment cannot see a way around them unless we at least defer it.”

But the committee’s chairman Coun Paul Kane said he did not have a problem with the application. He added that people start to think land belongs to them after they have used it over many years, but it does not.

About the delivery issues, he said: “They are a club and they will make sure they will get their beer come what may.”

The application has been delegated to planning officers for approval.

As part of the conditions the developer will have to make 10 of the homes affordable, pay £90,850 towards off site open space, £60,482 towards education and £16,175.50 towards a residential Metro Card scheme.