Seven-year planning saga for 65 homes in Yorkshire finally resolved

More than 60 homes will be built in Yorkshire after a seven-year planning battle, much to the dismay of hundreds of residents and councillors.

Thursday (February 22) marks the end of a seven-year-long planning saga, as Kirklees Council’s strategic planning committee green-lit plans for a housing development on a plot between Lady Ann Road and Primrose Hill at Soothill, in Batley. The greenfield site is allocated for housing in the council’s Local Plan.

Over the years, applications from developer, D Noble Ltd, have been refused and withdrawn but the latest has now got permission to go ahead. This was despite the high number of objections from members of the public and the three Batley East ward councillors.

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One hundred and twenty comments were received on the council’s website, and three petitions launched in opposition, accumulating a total of 496 signatures.

Proposed housing site on land between Lady Ann Road and Primrose Hill, Soothill, BatleyProposed housing site on land between Lady Ann Road and Primrose Hill, Soothill, Batley
Proposed housing site on land between Lady Ann Road and Primrose Hill, Soothill, Batley

At the committee meeting, one objection was read on behalf of ward councillors, namely, Coun Habiban Zaman, Coun Adam Zaman, and Coun Ebrahim Dockrat.

The councillors said: “We are all disappointed that this application has risen once again with only minor changes, and has one hundred objections listed. We would like to strongly object to this planning application as we believe it is not suited to this area for several reasons.”

Some of the reasons set out included flood risk, concerns the site would be overdeveloped, the use of artificial stone on the properties, and a strain on local services and roads, with the nearby Soothill Lane said to be “severely congested at the best of times”.

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They added: “This application will have a massive detrimental effect on the area. Sixty-seven additional homes will make the highly overpopulated area unbearable.”

Local resident Steven Potter was concerned about the impact the plans would have on local wildlife, describing them as an “ecological disaster in the making”. He also spoke of the area’s already strained road network.

However, council officers felt the current application had set right several issues from earlier applications including the distance between properties and the proposed number of homes, recommending it to the panel for approval.

While a full suite of planning conditions could not be secured as it was found to be unviable for the developer, several conditions were secured including a £71.8k contribution to education, £62k for open space, and £10.5k for bus stop improvements. Five homes will be affordable rather than the 13 (20 percent of an entire development) that would ordinarily be required.

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Lee Machell, Technical Manager at D Noble Ltd, said that the company wants to provide much-needed housing that is “so desperately needed” in Kirklees. He told the meeting that the application was in its best possible position and spoke of the difficulties presented by the site.

The panel discussed many aspects of the application, with Coun Moses Crook and Coun Bill Armer each querying the use of artificial stone. The councillors wanted all properties to be faced in natural stone and this was added as a condition on the application.

When it came to the vote, the panel was unanimously in favour, subject to conditions.

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