There has been activity in recent weeks on various planning issues relating to the land at Dunford Road in our village, here is an update and we’re asking you to submit comments on the Council’s revised Local Plan by Decemeber 19th.
The latest on the Planning Application
As you know the Group is opposing Jones Homes’ planning application for the site. The application has been updated to remove part of the site that is in green belt from the application site. At present we are trying to find out when the planning application will be decided by the Council. We believe there are technical issues regarding the impact of the development on the ecology of the site and wider area which mean that the application should not be determined until further work is done by Jones Homes. The earliest that work can be done is springtime next year. We will provide a further update when we have some more news, until we know what is happening the planning application remains our immediate target.
The Local Plan
We have previously reported that the Council has issued its revised Local Plan which sets out Kirklees’ ideas for the next 15 years. The latest version of the Plan now proposes that the application site (as amended), is allocated for housing development (previously it was recommended to be ‘safeguarded’. This has obviously come as a major disappointment to us, we had no notice that this change was going to be proposed so we are now fighting on two fronts – the application, and the Plan.
All Local Authorities are required to have an up to date Local Plan in place, Kirklees Council is well behind schedule as a previous draft plan was withdrawn and the Council chose to start again. The Local Plan contains relevant planning policy for its area and allocates land for uses which it considers to be appropriate – this, along with national planning policy and any other relevant considerations, provides the framework for determining planning applications.
Kirklees has recently issued its revised draft Local Plan for comment – responses are requested by December 19th. After the consultation the Council will decide whether any further changes need to be made, then the plan will be submitted to the Secretary of State who will appoint an Inspector to conduct an independent examination of the plan. The examination gives interested parties the opportunity to discuss their concerns, but only if representations are made by the deadline of December 19th. The Inspector can ask the Council to make further changes before the plan can be adopted and put in place. The key issues that will be of concern to the Inspector will be to decide if the Kirklees plan is legally compliant and technically sound – we think there are failings on both.
We are asking you to help us make Kirklees think again about changing the allocation – which will add weight to the opposition to the planning application.
In brief we believe that the Council’s plan is not legally compliant as all the relevant surveys and assessments that are legally required have not been carried out before making a decision to allocate the land for development- for example ecology surveys and landscape assessments.
We also think that the allocation of the site is not technically sound. A requirement of national planning guidance is that development should be sustainable and we do not think that Hade Edge is a sustainable location for development of the scale proposed. The Council has carried out a sustainability appraisal of settlements within the district – Hade Edge comes bottom in the ranking of access to essential services, employment, shops and suchlike. However, we believe there are serious flaws in the information the Council has used in this assessment. We do not believe that the assessment adequately takes into account the village’s poor accessibility by public transport, by cycle and on foot to key services and facilities, or the remote location and steep hills which hinder access to services.. We therefore believe that the allocation of the site for housing development is not sound as we believe there are flaws in the sustainability assessment, which if corrected would show that the village and the land at Dunford Road are not in a sustainable location.
What you can do to help
We would urge all readers to send in comments to the Council. We would suggest that any comments say that the Plan is not legally compliant and not technically sound, we have set out above why we believe this is the case but feel free to use your own examples and put the comments in your own words. We think it is important that comments are made in order to persuade Officers to change their minds. If the Council will not reverse its decision to allocate the site for development before the Plan is submitted to the Secretary of State then we will set out our concerns to the Inspector at the independent Examination that will probably be held in Summer 2017.
How You Can Comment
- Register as a consultee, log in, and and comment via the standard form which is accessed from the Kirklees Planning Portal. We suggest that the parts of the Local Plan which are relevant for comments are the Council’s Allocations and Designations report and the Sustainability Appraisal. The site reference for the land in the village is H288a, and you should mention this specifically in your comments. You’ll need to be logged in on the planning portal to access the links in this text.
This is not too straightforward, but there’s a help document here which outlines how to do this.
- Alternatively comments can be emailed to email@example.com . Don’t forget to mention the site reference H288a.
If anyone needs any help in making comments please contact us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or speak to any of us on the Group. We will be making our own comments as a group with the benefit of professional advice in due course.