Campaigners pledge to fight Mirfield homes developers

Campaigners at the development site
Campaigners at the development site

Campaigners who defeated developers more than a decade ago are gearing up for another fight, after plans for a housing development returned 15 years later.

Bellway Homes has announced new draft plans for what councillors understand to be 136 homes on land off Hepworth Lane.

But councillors want to reignite the spirit of ‘99 to stop the developmen. Back then tireless campaigning from hundreds of residents helped fight off similar plans for the land, which were rejected after a public enquiry.

At a Mirfield Town Council meeting on Tuesday, the Mayor of Mirfield Coun Vivien Lees-Hamilton said: “In 1999 the Town Council helped fight the development along with the people of Mirfield, and they won. Now Bellway are back.

“Mirfield’s infrastructure cannot cope – traffic in Mirfield is bad enough as it is, and if the motorway were ever to close, then god help us all.”

Coun Kath Taylor added: “This was rejected (in 1999) and now Bellway are just trying their luck.

“They will find that people in Mirfield will not be very happy about this.”

Coun Hamilton said she was concerned for the future of the neighbouring fields, adding: “This is a large plot of land, and I believe this is just the beginning.

“If they get permission for this, they will be back to get more.”

Plans have yet to be submitted to Kirklees Council, but Bellway will hold a public consultation event at Northorpe Hall on November 4 from 4pm-7.30pm.

Campaigner Keith Andrews wants to bring campaign group Save Mirfield back into action, and is calling on the people of Mirfield to get involved.

He said: “On January 31, 1999, on a cold Sunday afternoon, 900 people turned up at Gilder Hall - we want to better that.”

The group has planned a meeting at the Flying Shuttle pub in Shillbank Lane after the consultation meeting.

Mr Andrews said the group desperately needed new people to fight the proposals.

He said: “The good folk of Mirfield have to stand strong. We are not NIMBYs - there is already so much housing and we don’t have the infrastructure. Now the LDF has been withdrawn, it can be seen as open season for developers as there is no planning structure for Mirfield. This has the potential to become a circus.”

A statement from Bellway Homes said: “All thoughts and suggestions received as part of the consultation will be carefully considered and used to shape the proposals before a planning application is submitted to the Council.”