Town council not happy with cash windfall plans

ANGRY: Vivien Lees-Hamilton
ANGRY: Vivien Lees-Hamilton
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Mirfielders reacted angrily this week to a report suggesting a developer has agreed a £1m deal with Kirklees Council to build new houses.

Developers Taylor Wimpey are set to enter a planning application with the council to build 166 houses in Mirfield Moor, and a draft report is said to show the developers have agreed to pay £1m to cash-strapped Kirklees’ coffers.

According to a leaked report this week, around £600,000 of the money would go towards funding places at Mirfield Free Grammar and Old Bank schools, with the rest going towards road improvements.

At a Mirfield Town Council meeting on Tuesday, councillors reacted angrily to the report, suggesting the council could have held out for more.

Mayor of Mirfield Vivien Lees Hamilton said: “It does not matter how much money they throw at the schools, it will not improve the infrastructure of the town.

“Kirklees could have held out for £4m from Taylor Wimpy, but have settled for just 25 percent of that. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry – or both.”

Coun David Pinder commented on the fact that the plan would be a mix of homes and industrial uses.

He said: “One of the things we keep hearing is that there is a shortage of industrial space in West Yorkshire.

“This is wrong – a recent CBI survey said that West Yorkshire had more disused industrial estates than any other part of the country!”

As part of planning applications, councils can ask a developer to put money towards local infrastructure such as roads and schools, known as a Section 106 agreements.

Keith Andrews, from protest group Save Mirfield, said: “The infrastructure around here is creaking. It is the same old Kirklees – they will do their own thing and we are just an irritation to them.”

The next meeting iof the Heavy Woollen Planning Sub-committee is on October 2.