War of words after MP meets with minister over LDF plan

PLANNING DISCUSSION Simon Reevell with Eric Pickles and Colne Valley MP Jason McCartney
PLANNING DISCUSSION Simon Reevell with Eric Pickles and Colne Valley MP Jason McCartney
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A senior councillor has slammed a meeting between MP Simon Reevell and a top government minister.

Dewsbury and Mirfield MP Mr Reevell met Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Eric Pickles to discuss Kirklees Council’s decision to withdraw their Local Development Framework (LDF) and local concerns over planning issues.

Mr Reevell said he wanted the meeting to get clarification on the “absolute mess” he said the council has made of its planning future. Mr Pickles told him Kirklees should be using more up to date figures to determine their housing needs.

But deputy council leader David Sheard said Mr Pickles should be speaking directly to Kirklees to avoid a repeat of the LDF fiasco, which saw the council being forced to withdraw the LDF after it was criticised by a government planning inspector.

He said: “It seems very odd that he’s meeting with the MP who doesn’t even have responsibility for the LDF.”

Coun Sheard said the council was now working on a replacement strategy but they want a clear indication of how many houses Mr Pickles will approve. “We are now playing in the dark. We don’t want this on a nod and a wink from the MP – we want figures in writing.”

The LDF was criticised by the planning inspector for not getting its housing figures right.

Green belt land in Thornhill Lees and Cooper Bridge and the Chidswell area were earmarked to sacrificed for development under the original plan.