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Monday, April 22, 2024

Controversy in Almondbury: Residents outraged over plans for new homes on urban green space

A decision will be made next week

Residents have been left outraged by plans to bring new homes to a patch of land in Almondbury.

Nine new homes could soon be built on a plot off Forest Road, as an application is due to be decided by Kirklees Council next Thursday (21 March). The development would be made up of four sets of semi-detached properties, and one detached house, with five of them being affordable.

The majority of the site is bordered by homes but to the back of it are some trees that make up part of a wider woodland. This woodland is allocated as Urban Green Space in the council’s Local Plan but despite this, council officers regard the proposal to be an acceptable use of the land “on a fine balance”, and have recommended the application be approved.

Under Kirklees’ new planning system, fewer applications are being determined by the council’s committees. However, the concerns of Almondbury ward councillor, Cllr Bernard McGuin, have seen these plans referred to the District-wide Planning Committee.

Cllr Bernard Mcguin. Image: Kirklees Council

Cllr McGuin is concerned about access problems, drainage problems and the steepness of the lands, with many of these issues echoed by local residents, with a total of seven objections submitted by the community.

One resident described the plans as “disgusting” and said they were “appalled by the stupidity”. Another wrote: “I strongly object to the construction of nine dwellings on this relatively small piece of land. It is directly opposite my house on land sloping downhill towards me so I will be completely overlooked and lose privacy which will impact on my house value.

They added: “The works and additional housing will have a negative impact on their [wildlife] natural habitat and on the general character of the street. We also have a nursery not far from the land and families on the street so there are often children out on the road. Additional parked cars will create more of a hazard.”

The council is currently under greater pressure to approve planning applications at present as it doesn’t have enough housing land to meet Kirklees’ housing needs for the next five years, as is required by national policy. Kirklees only has enough for 3.96 years.

In its supporting documents, the applicant’s agent has highlighted this and says the local authority has granted “numerous” permissions on greenspace as a result of its insufficient housing land supply.

They add: “Overall, the proposal which constitutes sustainable development will assist the Council in meeting its housing land supply shortfall and provide for much needed housing provision.”

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