Have your say on Dewsbury Riverside housing plans

People living close to the huge site of the proposed Dewsbury Riverside housing scheme are to be given a chance to comment on emerging plans.

Thursday, 17th June 2021, 11:00 am
An artist's impression of how the huge Dewsbury Riverside development might look when it is completed
An artist's impression of how the huge Dewsbury Riverside development might look when it is completed

As part of its controversial Local Plan, Kirklees Council intends to build more than 4,000 houses on a vast swathe of land at Thornhill Lees between Ravensthorpe and Mirfield.

Now the authority is to launch an online pre-application engagement exercise for members of the public to find out more and to give their views.

That has not found favour with one vocal critic, who has called on the council to put up plans in public in libraries and other buildings.

Coun Martyn Bolt on land earmarked for 4,000 homes at Dewsbury Riverside, where allotments are set to be 'sacrificed' for a new access road

Independent planning and design consultants Barton Willmore have been appointed to work up a planning application for the first phase of the Dewsbury Riverside scheme focusing on land south of Ravensthorpe Road.

They will also head up the public engagement, which will be launched next Monday, June 21. It will involve an interactive website, which will allow people to view and comment on emerging plans.

The council is also planning on running an interactive online session within the consultation window between June 21 and the beginning of August.

In addition it will launch “Place Standard” engagement in Ravensthorpe and Thornhill Lees on June 21.

Coun Martyn Bolt (Con, Mirfield) said Dewsbury Riverside was the flagship development within the council’s Local Plan and as such deserved the fullest engagement possible with local people potentially affected by it.

He has been sharply critical of previous engagements, such as that for the now aborted Cooper Bridge bypass scheme.

He said: “We often talk about hard-to-reach groups but how are they even meant to engage without face-to-face meetings?

“Plans need to be in place in libraries, particularly for something as vast as Dewsbury Riverside.

“Online engagement is all very well but if you’re not online, then access to it is severely limited.

“I have a concern over all such engagements like this. It’s a matter of their effectiveness.”

The 70 acres of land off Ravensthorpe Road, which is council-owned, is earmarked for approximately 1,869 homes to be built over the next 11 years.

It will involve the demolition of a mosque and playgroup, and the removal of allotments, which will be replaced at a cost of more than £1m.

The remaining 2,131 homes will be built after the council has bought a further 11.5 acres of land, which is owned by the Diocese of Leeds, part of the Church of England.