Kirklees Council’s Local Plan that would see over 30,000 homes built across the district is under review.
The Local Plan came into force in 2019 and sets out how much development the council wants in Kirklees and where it will go. The government requires each council to have a local plan to meet the “growing needs of local people and businesses.”
Kirklees Council’s plan features some controversial schemes like the 4,000 home Dewsbury Riverside scheme and 1,500 home development at Chidswell. Another major scheme is the Bradley Park project which saw £800k released by the council for preparatory works in June.
When the Local Plan was first launched, the council said it would fully review it within five years, in line with government legislation. This review will take place over the coming months, and results will then be shared with Kirklees Council’s Cabinet.
The review will look at whether the Local Plan is meeting its original targets in terms of housing and job creation, and whether updates are needed to account for all that has changed both for Kirklees and nationally over the last five years.
When carrying out its review, the council will be using advice and processes developed by the government’s Planning Advisory Service. This will also help to determine whether a partial or full update is required.
If the review confirms that amends are required to the original Local Plan, a longer process will follow to decide what the updated Local Plan should look like. This will include formal consultation and engagement with residents and businesses.
Opposition groups called for an earlier review of the Local Plan, with the Almondbury ward Lib Dems explaining that the plan is based on outdated ONS predictions for the population and proposes around 16,000 homes that aren’t needed.
When the issues around population figures were raised last year, Kirklees’ Tories echoed the Lib Dems’ sentiments, with group leader Cllr David Hall (Liversedge and Gomersal) calling for a review at the “earliest opportunity.”
The plan has also come under fire for its use of the greenbelt, with Cllr Alison Munro (Lib Dem, Almondbury), saying earlier this year: “ Building on former green belt is completely unacceptable when far fewer houses are needed.”
Councillor Graham Turner, Cabinet Member for Growth & Regeneration, said: “The Kirklees Local Plan is all about the bigger picture, and how we deliver our ambitious plans to develop Kirklees over not just years but decades to come.
“When we first launched the Local Plan in 2019, we knew this review would be coming. Things change over time, and our long-term plans need to remain relevant in order to deliver. But back in 2019, no-one could have foreseen the level of change that Kirklees – and our country as a whole – have seen since.
“Taking an in-depth look at how our original plans have held up against all that change is now more important than ever.”