Chidswell Action Group backs Dewsbury Rams stadium development plan

SPREADING THE WORD: Dewsbury Rams mascot Roger Ram takes to the streets to drum up support for the clubs development plans.

SPREADING THE WORD: Dewsbury Rams mascot Roger Ram takes to the streets to drum up support for the clubs development plans.

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PROPOSALS to develop green belt land around the Dewsbury Rams’ stadium have won the backing of campaigners in Chidswell.

Chidswell Action Group (CAG) is fighting council plans for 500 homes and 35 hectares of business units on the Windsor Park site, part of the green belt. Its members say they know more homes and jobs are needed, but land behind the Tetley’s Stadium in Shaw Cross is more suitable.

Proposals for 200 homes, a 60-bed care home and community facilities near the stadium were made public earlier this month when the club said it would help secure its future.

Coun Cathy Scott (Lab, Dews East) said: “I have an open mind about the proposals and do support the club. However, I would remind Reporter readers, especially the ones in Bywell Road, that the land is green belt.”

She said CAG chairman Rod Lilley and Dewsbury MP Simon Reevell would be expected to carry the banner for anti-green belt development.

But Mr Lilley said: “The difference between the sites is that Windsor Park is farmland. It’s not the right place.”

He said the stadium land needed to be developed or tidied up.

A planning application is expected in the summer if land owner Kirklees Council agrees to the principle of development. Plans could only be approved if there were special circumstances for building in the green belt.

Mr Reevell said: “We do have to look very seriously at it. If we believe the club needs this to survive, we’ve got to ask if we want to keep the club.

“I think it would be a disaster for Dewsbury if the Rams weren’t there.”

Meanwhile, the Dewsbury Rams Development Supporters Group has been spreading the word with street stalls.

A petition backing the plans already has around 1,000 signatures.

A meeting about the plans for club members and season ticket holders will be held after the March 4 game.