Council changes green belt plans

CAMPAIGNERS will march in protest after the council more than doubled the number of houses it wants to build on green belt land.

People in Chidswell were furious to hear that 500 houses could now be built on green belt land near their homes, not 200 as was first proposed.

But Kirklees has reduced the number of homes it wants to build on green belt in Thornhill Lees from 2,300 to 1,500.

The revised Local Development Framework (LDF) plans were published just days after almost 600 people packed out the Dewsbury Rams’ stadium to express their concerns about the Chidswell development.

Now the Chidswell Action Group will hold a protest march on November 12.

Worried residents of Dewsbury, Batley and south Leeds will meet outside the Huntsman Inn in Chidswell Lane, Shaw Cross, at 10am.

Action group chairman Rod Lilley said: “If we can get people out a week on Saturday, I think it will show even more strength and the council will have to sit up and take notice.”

He said the group would start distributing 15,000 leaflets this weekend.

In Thornhill Lees, campaigners say the changes do not go far enough.

Bill Beattie, secretary of Thornhill Lees Community Action Group, said: “One thousand five hundred homes is still too many. We’re supposed to be preserving green belt land, not destroying it.”

The group will hold a meeting on at Thornhill Lees Community Centre. Brewery Lane on November 18, 7pm.

Kirklees Council leader Mehboob Khan and Dewsbury MP Simon Reevell will attend.

The revised LDF strategy still includes a proposal to build a total of 4,400 houses in south Dewsbury by 2028, plus a 35 hectare business development at Chidswell.

At Cooper Bridge in Mirfield, a proposed 50 hectare business development has been reduced to 42 hectares.

Many residents do not want to lose the green belt land and fear that local infrastructure will not be able to support so many extra homes and jobs.

The council’s cabinet will discussed the revised plan at a meeting on Tuesday. All councillors will vote on it on November 23.