High Court appeal for retirement community on Dewsbury border

ECO HOMES: How the scheme would look.
ECO HOMES: How the scheme would look.

A developer has taken his fight to build a retirement community partly on green belt land to the High Court.

Howard Cook, who owns Ponderosa farm and business park in Smithies Lane, Heckmondwike, is seeking an order to quash the secretary of state’s decision not to grant planning permission for his scheme.

The village near the border with Dewsbury Moor would include 145 extra care housing units, a 50 bed residential care home, restaurant, library, shop and treatment rooms.

The plans were turned down by Kirklees Council last year because part of the scheme would be built in green belt land at Ponderosa.

Dewsbury Chamber of Trade member Mr Cook appealed, saying it would create jobs and free up family homes, and the planning inspector agreed in principle – but secretary of state Eric Pickles turned the plans down because he said potential benefits did not outweigh harm to the green belt.

Members of Kirklees Council’s Heavy Woollen planning sub-committee were expected to agree not to take an active part in the proceedings yesterday.

An officers’ report stated Mr Pickles should take primary responsibility for defending his decision. Last month Mr Cool allayed fears Ponderosa would close but did not wish to comment on the High Court bid.