Backlash over homes go-ahead

RESIDENTS and traders who fear they will be affected by the building of 230 new homes in Lower Hopton have spoken out this week as more details about the development came to light.

The Reporter told last week how Clough House Ltd had been granted planning permission to build the three and five-bedroomed homes and a number of business premises on land off Woodend Road.

The main point of access to the site will no longer be via Woodend Road, but underneath the railway arch via Chadwick Fold Lane. The route will be protected from flooding by a retaining wall and a landscaped embankment.

Woodend Road will be barrier-controlled to prevent its use as a residential access.

Following approval by Kirklees Council, traffic calming measures, thought to include a mini-roundabout, will be put in at the junction of Chadwick Fold Lane, Calder Road and Ledgard Bridge before the first residents move in.

Many residents in Lower Hopton have concerns as to how the roads are going to cope with the extra traffic created by the development.

A small number of residents who live in the middle of the site are set to lose their homes.

Paula Uttley has been renting a two-bedroomed cottage from Patterson's Tankers, which is based on the site, for nearly three years. Her home and the homes of her four neighbours are to be demolished to make way for the new development.

Ms Uttley, who has two sons, Kieran, 11 and Bradley, six, and is a full-time carer for her mother, says she is in limbo because she has no idea when Patterson's will ask her to move, and Kirklees Council say she cannot have a council property because she is not homeless.

Ms Uttley, 32, said: "When I moved in I didn't know about the planning application, but within three weeks I found out and asked the council if they could house me.

"They said they couldn't help me until I get my notice from Patterson's but they can't tell me when work is starting."

Ms Uttley said after Clough House was refused planning permission in September 2003 she thought the problem had been solved.

"I didn't think they would win the appeal. When my eldest son found out they had got planning permission he broke down because he is settled here and doesn't want to move."

A Kirklees spokeswoman said: "Ms Uttley has applied for areas of very high demand and currently does not have enough points for a two-bedroom property. Before she can be assessed by housing needs as homeless she needs to have a notice to quit from her current landlord."

A spokesman for Patterson's was unavailable for comment at the time of going to press.

Shop owners in Mirfield fear that traffic lights at the junction of Newgate and Huddersfield Road will adversely affect their businesses.

The Planning Inspectorate and the Secretary of State said people were likely to walk the short distance from the new homes to Mirfield town centre and the railway station.

But Mandy Tyas, from Mandy at Valerie's hairdressers on Huddersfield Road, said people rarely walked anywhere, and the centre would not be able to cope with the additional traffic.

Karen Sykes, who owns the Curtain Raisers shop on Huddersfield Road, said she was also worried about the affect the extra traffic would have on local businesses.