Plea not to fight developers over new homes plan

CONTROVERSIAL PLANS The area between  Soothill Lane and Grange Road, which has been earmarked for development.
CONTROVERSIAL PLANS The area between Soothill Lane and Grange Road, which has been earmarked for development.

A councillor has said the public should work with developers to get the best deal for both sides on a massive proposal to build new homes.

Fears that public services would be smothered and roads congested were raised after proposals to build 400 new homes between Batley’s Soothill Lane and Grange Road were revealed last month.

But Coun Hanif Mayet (Lab, Batley East) said the area had already been earmarked for development and fighting against it would not produce the best results for residents.

He said: “Rather than protesting against it and getting nowhere the best way would be to work with planners and developers to try to preserve some of the green areas and make sure that new infrastructure is put in place.

“I hope that the developers will come with the idea of listening to the people and take their views into account to come up with a reasonable solution and alleviate the community’s fears about over-stretched roads and schools. “Maybe the way is to work with them rather than just fight it. Rather than fight, and fight, and fight let’s make an agreement.

“It would be better than one party leaving with everything and the other with nothing.”

Coun Mayet made the comments ahead of a public meeting on the proposals, in which members of the public will be invited to air their views, but reiterated his position against more development in the area, saying he was “wholeheartedly opposed”.

He said Kirklees Council was under significant pressure from the Government to build more homes and that the area was being considered for development. The meeting will be held at Batley Town Hall on August 19, 2pm-4pm.

Gill Paterson, who runs Grange Farm in Soothill and could lose around a quarter of the land she rents, understood Coun Mayet’s position but said there was a lot left to campaign for.

She said: “If the fight is won it will be on tactical grounds about infrastructure and roads not emotional ones. We will need new roads, schools and a doctor’s.

“Without green land everything would merge into one big conurbation, one big urban sprawl and that’s the problem – nobody cares about Batley. Everything seems to be foisted upon North Kirklees”

She said a public meeting could be a good place to get people together to oppose the development. It will be interesting to hear people’s views.

“I have a feeling it will galvanise people into a united front.”

No formal planning application has yet been entered.