Kirklees Planning Matters
Kirklees is a place of great contrasts. Huddersfield is a large town which has had some success in post-industrial re-invention, while Cleckheaton, Batley and Dewsbury are still struggling against the decline of their town centres and are in desperate need of a new urban vision.
The M62 corridor is the focus for most new development, mainly for commercial sites around the motorway junctions but also for residential urban extensions at Bradley (Huddersfield) and Chidswell (Dewsbury). A further urban extension is planned to the south of Dewsbury at Ravensthorpe. CPRE has campaigned against these sites on the basis that they will not help to regenerate the town centres and instead will sprawl into adjacent landscapes.
Outside of the Huddersfield – Dewsbury urban arc, Kirklees is characterised by steep-sided valleys, the rivers flowing fast through chains of towns and villages along the Colne (Marsden, Slaithwaite, Linthwaite) and the Holme (Holmfirth, Brockholes, Honley). These settlements are all seeing a degree of new development, but they also have a very strong connection to their surrounding landscape and are effectively on the front line in our understanding of the relationship between heavily-grazed upland moors and the future of small, former textile towns. In developing our vision for a 21st century countryside, west Kirklees is an important testing ground, not least because there are so many local groups with ideas and energy.
East of Holmfirth and west of the M1 motorway is the upper Dearne Valley and the high ground of Emley Moor, whose landmark transmission mast can be seen across several counties. This landscape is also very heavily quarried, and there are several existing and new major quarrying sites in the area, particularly at Crosland Moor and Lane Head, where CPRE has campaigned against proposals that would breach into new landscapes where quarrying is not currently visible. The scale of quarrying techniques becomes ever more industrial, and some communities face the prospect of living indefinitely in scarred landscapes.