Developer accused of “massive own goal” over Local Plan applications

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A developer has been accused of scoring a “massive own goal” by submitting two applications to build homes on green space earmarked in the district’s draft Local Plan – before a consultation period into it had ended.

Miller Homes wants to build around 240 homes off Lees Hall Road and Ravensthorpe Road – parts of a flagship 4,000-plot ‘Dewsbury Riverside’ proposal.

But the applications for the two protected sites were put in on December 2 before the public consultation into Labour-run Kirklees Council’s draft Local Plan finished more than two weeks later.

The draft allocates land for 30,000 houses, employment, leisure and open space until 2031. It is yet to be submitted to the Planning Inspectorate for approval, after which it would likely be adopted formally in early 2018.

The district’s Conservative leader David Hall said: “It’s completely premature and it won’t do anything to persuade people that the process we are going through is a sound one.

“It’s probably a massive own goal on the part of the developers that they’re not willing to wait for the land to be designated.”

He said it is likely to make residents suspicious about the consultation period if they feel the plan is already a “done deal”.

Coun Hall had previously called on the council to extend the consultation deadline to allow a greater opportunity for responses.

According to documents attached to the Lees Hall Road application, the 120 planned homes at that site are part of “phase one” of the Dewsbury Riverside proposals.

The documents state: “The vision for Dewsbury Riverside is to deliver transformational change and investment in this area and create a high quality gateway.

“The key element being to drive forward the economy in the region, enhance the residential offer, regenerate the Town Centre, improve the environment, create excellent transport connectivity and improved access to employment opportunities.”

A spokesperson for Miller Homes said:“We can confirm we have submitted outline planning applications for two developments as part of the first phase of the wider Dewsbury Riverside development.

“These plans are for proposed developments of up to 120 new homes at both Lees Hall Road and Ravensthorpe Road in Dewsbury in areas which are already allocated for development in the current adopted development plan.”

A Kirklees Council spokeswoman said: “Planning applications can be submitted for any land, at any time, and are currently considered in accordance with the current Kirklees Unitary Development Plan (UDP) and national policies.

“As such these applications will be subject to the usual planning process.”