Access onto Cleckheaton industrial site approved despite concerns over dangerous roads

Councillors in Kirklees have approved a contentious access point to a massive site on the outskirts of Cleckheaton, which is to be come an industrial estate.

By Tony Earnshaw , Local Democracy Reporting Service
Wednesday, 23rd September 2020, 1:47 pm
Updated Wednesday, 23rd September 2020, 3:02 pm

The decision was made in the face of significant objections from local people as well as councillors in Bradford and one of the city’s MPs.

One objector, Charlie Brown, said the transformation of the former Yorkshire Water North Bierley Waste Water Treatment Works had been “dressed up like a pig” by its developers.

And he said residents had been treated with “contempt” in their attempts to overturn the scheme.

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The site of former North Bierley Waste Water Treatment Plant, near Cleckheaton, where access has been agreed despite objections. (Picture Local Democracy Reporting Service)

The debate that took place at Kirklees Council’s Strategic Planning Committee focused on access to the site, which occupies 57 acres between the M62 and the M606.

That access is via Cliff Hollins Lane, which connects to Mill Carr Hill Road, then Bradford Road and finally onto Junction 26 of the M62 at Chain Bar.

The highways issue was described by one speaker as “the most contentious” element of the plan.

Objectors raised concerns about congested roads, the “problematic” nature of the Chain Bar junction, and the potentially dangerous implications of traffic on a nearby primary school.

Mr Brown said: “We have had to suck up the outline decision passed on a casting vote by the chair [of the committee] who later admitted he was not familiar with the site.”

Bradford councillor Alan Wainwright (Lab, Tong) described the proposed entry and exit into the site as “very dangerous” particularly in relation to the school. He asked for a “more sensible” different route on Cleckheaton Road in Cleckheaton.

He said: “We believe a company that can pay in excess of £7m for a site surely can pay for a safer entrance and exit in a far safer environment than the current one that is near a school and would be accessed by extremely narrow roads.”

He called for a traffic survey to be undertaken before a decision was made on the plan to look at the projected number of vehicles related to the anticipated 800 jobs on site. He said the road was unsuitable for employee traffic.

Concerns over access were echoed by Coun Andrew Pinnock (Lib Dem, Cleckheaton) who said he was “really not happy with this” and said an alternative entrance to the site was preferable.

He commented: “I accept it would be very expensive but at least it would take a lot of heavy traffic away from the village [of Oakenshaw], which has quite enough already.”

For the developers Ryan Unsworth said investment totalling £30m was being pumped into the site. Materials from the demolished works was also being re-used, reducing the necessity for thousands of extra vehicle movements making deliveries.

He apologised for works that had taken place on site and which resulted in the developers being served with a one-month stop notice in July.

The committee voted 5-1 to approve the scheme. In favour: Clrs Donald Firth, Steve Hall, Carole Pattison, Cathy Scott, Mohan Sokhal.

Against: Clr Andrew Pinnock.