Kirklees Council’s Cabinet has just approved the sale of land in Almondbury for housing development, despite objections from 84 residents.
The land, on Fenay Lane, is owned by the council and has the capacity to deliver around 160 new homes. The site was allocated for housing in the council’s Local Plan in 2019 and was identified in the local authority’s housing growth strategy, which was approved by the Cabinet in November last year.
By selling the 10.1-hectare plot to a “strategically selected” housing provider, the council hopes that homes can be delivered to help address the national housing shortage, without the need for further investment.
The plans to dispose of the land were advertised in October and saw 49 objections signed by 84 residents, received in response. These were considered at yesterday’s (23 January) meeting of the council’s Cabinet where Almondbury ward councillor, Alison Munro (Lib Dem) attended to voice her concerns.
Cllr Munro wanted assurance that flooding and drainage issues had been properly assessed and clarification around “inconsistent” comments between the report and council officers’ comments on the potentially resulting traffic increase.
She added: “While most of the issues that are being raised are planning issues, I feel it is almost as if it’s a foregone conclusion that this is going to be voted through today and that once again, the comments of local residents basically are being run over roughshod.
“While it may be allocated land in the Local Plan, I still feel that people have genuine concerns and we shouldn’t be just ignoring those concerns.”
In response, Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Finance, Cllr Graham Turner, said: “This report is simply in response to the objections, the principle of disposal was agreed a couple of cabinets ago. This land was allocated in 2019 in the Local Plan for housing and again, most of these objections will be picked up in the planning process which we know is very rigorous and will address all these issues.”
Cabinet voted to approve the plans and following the meeting, Cllr Turner said: “Across Kirklees, we’re aiming to create well over 2,000 new homes by 2030.
“Part of achieving this goal is strategically selling portions of land to trusted developers who can bring this to fruition, without ongoing financial input from us as a council. Throughout these decisions, we always work on the basis that our development partners should share our values and have the best interests of local people and communities at heart.
“By working with trusted partners and utilising our own land, we can ensure that the right mix of housing is delivered to meet the needs of our residents. This new development should bring around 160 new quality homes to the beautiful village of Almondbury – piece by piece helping us address the current shortage of housing, not just locally but nationally.”