The Kirklees Local Plan – Some Good News!
CPRE West Yorkshire worked hard to influence the Public Examination of the Kirklees Local Plan. We now have the Inspector’s recommendations, which should result in modifications to the Plan, and whilst it may be far from ideal, we can congratulate ourselves and our colleagues on some major successes.
There are three big wins. A huge employment site proposed in the Green Belt at Cooper Bridge, Huddersfield, and another at Clayton Westwas were found to be unsustainable. The Inspector has asked that these be removed from the plan and the land should stay in the Green Belt. Also, the way that the Plan deals with historical shortfalls in housebuilding is changing: this can now be addressed over the full life plan, rather than the first five years, which seems a technical point but actually has big benefits in terms of how the supply of land is calculated. This should greatly reduce the risk of aggressive planning applications on greenfield sites that aren’t in the Plan.
It’s not always easy to see our successes, especially when there are still some major losses, most notably a huge mixed-use site coming out of the Green Belt at Chidswell, outside Dewsbury. Usually we are also fighting to stop matters getting worse, because landowners have been trying to secure more greenfield development sites over and above those being allocated by the Plan. To save two or three substantial sites from inappropriate development is therefore a great success; and it can really be attributed to excellent collaboration between CPRE and the local campaign groups in the Kirklees Community Action Network. Without professional, patient and co-ordinated efforts, it is unlikely we would be celebrating, and this an important lesson for our work elsewhere, such as in Bradford and Wakefield, where Local Plan reviews will be continuing in 2019 and beyond.