Affordable homes approved for Soothill cricket club site

GREEN SPACE The site will be used for affordable homes.
GREEN SPACE The site will be used for affordable homes.

Plans for 34 affordable homes and four apartments on a former cricket ground have edged closer.

The proposed development, on the former Soothill Cricket Club, is allocated as urban green space in Kirklees Council’s Unitary Development Plan (UDP).

But councillors on the Heavy Woollen planning sub-committee said losing the green space was a price worth paying as the affordable homes were desperately needed. The 1.5 hectare site, which is in a state of neglect, will be accessed off West Street.

Fraser Neasham, from Yorkshire Housing, told councillors that the homes would cost no more than 80 per cent of the current market rate and that all would go to local people.

Coun Andrew Pinnock (Lib Dem, Cleckheaton) said that although the ground had not been used for sport for many years, it still had amenity value to local people.

But Coun Cathy Scott (Lab, Dews East) said: “The space is practically overgrown. If anything, it is a dumping ground.”

Chairman Coun Paul Kane (Lab, Dews East) and Coun Karen Rowling (Lab, Dews West) both agreed that affordable housing was needed in the area. “The public out there cannot afford these sky-high rents,” Coun Kane (pictured) added.

The committee moved to approve the proposal, subject to the approval of the Planning and Highways Committee.

The Friends of Soothill Cricket Field had campaigned for the site to be cleaned up and used as a sports ground. Soothill Forum vice chairman Mohammed Dadhiwala opposed the development but could not be at the planning meeting due to work commitments.

He told the Reporter Series: “It’s a shame that what the community wanted has not been listened to. This was the last fair bit of land that was open space in Soothill.

“Children in particular will lose out in the long run.”