THERE are fears that almost 1,500 new homes planned for Huddersfield, and Cleckheaton are being “rushed through” in the final days before the local elections on May 6.

Councillors on Kirklees Council’s Strategic Planning Committee on Wednesday, April 28, will be asked to look at applications for 1, 497 houses in the borough – almost as many as the authority’s yearly quota within the controversial Local Plan.

Four out of the five applications have been recommended for approval by planning officers.

The high numbers have been flagged up by both a senior Liberal Democrat and the committee’s Labour chairman.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: For sale sign outside the Black Cat Fireworks factory at Crosland Moor, which is earmarked for a massive housing developmentFor sale sign outside the Black Cat Fireworks factory at Crosland Moor, which is earmarked for a massive housing development

Andrew Pinnock (Lib Dem, Cleckheaton) and a member of the council’s seven-strong Strategic Planning Committee, said: “It’s not very good at all that this appears to be being rushed through just before the elections.

“Why some couldn’t be left to the next meeting, I don’t know.”

Committee chairman Councillor Steve Hall (Lab, Heckmondwike) agreed that it was “unusual” to see “such a large number” of homes up for approval on one agenda.

He added: “It could have been done slightly differently – split over two meetings – but that’s how it falls.”

The next scheduled meeting of the Strategic Planning Committee is on May 12, but by then the make-up of the Labour-run council may have changed.

If so, that could mean a crucial shake-up for the committee, which is currently made up of three Labour, two Conservative, one Liberal Democrat and one independent councillor.

The housing plans up for debate are:

  • Up to 770 homes on 72 acres of land formerly occupied by the Black Cat Fireworks factory off Blackmoorfoot Road and Felks Street, Crosland Moor, Huddersfield;
  • Circa 270 dwellings on agricultural land at Bradley Villa Farm off Bradford Road, Huddersfield. This is part of a much larger 168-acre site that includes Bradley Park Golf Course;
  • 267 homes on 26 acres of land at Hunsworth Lane, Cleckheaton;
  • 122 homes on 11 acres of farmland close to the M62 motorway off Whitechapel Road, Cleckheaton; and
  • 68 homes on 5.4 acres of agricultural land off the A629 Penistone Road, Fenay Bridge, Huddersfield.

The committee will be asked to note the pre-application report for the Bradley Villa Farm proposal. All the other applications are recommended for approval.

Kirklees’ Local Plan, which will see tens of thousands of new homes built in the borough, was adopted in February 2019.

It includes 31,000 homes, many of which will have to be built within the green belt, as the Council says there is insufficient non-green belt land in the borough. It equates to building 1,730 homes a year.