Eric Pickles to visit controversial Chidswell planning site
THE COMMUNITIES secretary Eric Pickles is to visit the area to see for himself green belt land controversially under threat from developers.
The senior Conservative minister will visit the Chidswell site, on the border of Morley and Dewsbury on Leeds Road at the invitation of Dewsbury and Mirfield MP Simon Reevell.
Up to 500 homes and 35 hectares of industrial development could be built on the land.
The plans are part of Kirklees Council’s Local Development Framework which was adopted by the council in March and must be approved next by a planning inspector – something the Chidswell Action Group hopes to stop.
The group is being supported by Morley councillors and residents, who fear development on the site will have major repercussions on roads, schools and health facilities in nearby West Ardsley, Tingley and Woodkirk.
Following a Freedom of Information request, councillors say they received new information from the Highways Agency which showed it had concerns about how the development would impact on junction 28 of the M62 at Tingley.
Chidswell Action Group chairman Rod Lilley welcomed the news. He said: “We are hoping to get him up here at he earliest possible date and hopefully take a look and overturn it.
“It will give us a chance to have a one-to-one with him and explain the main objections.
“I hope he is going to look at it and see that this is a pocket of land that does not want to be disturbed – if it is built on it will bring three towns together.
“This is not about nimbyism – there are a lot of important issues at stake here.”
Mr Reevell said there was not yet a set date for Mr Pickles’ visit, but that he would come as soon as there was a space in his diary.
Mr Lilley added that the action group would be meeting with church commissioners, who own the land, to further discuss the plans next week.
Mr Reevell said: “At a national level we do need to build property but that does not mean every local authority needs to build on every little bit of green land.
“The council may say that is only a small piece of land in Kirklees, but it is all of the green belt land in Chidswell.
“This is a lovely bit of land and it is important as it is shared by three different communities.”
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