£1m bill to move allotments in Dewsbury

New allotments are set to be created at a cost of more than £1m, paving the way for work on the Dewsbury Riverside project to begin.

Monday, 7th June 2021, 12:30 pm
Allotment plots off Lees Hall Road, close to nearby Ravenshall School, are being taken to create access for a major new housing plan

They will replace existing plots off Lees Hall Road, close to nearby Ravenshall School, which are being taken to create access for a major housing plan.

Three acres of land off Ravensthorpe Road will be given over to 43 allotments and 17 parking spaces.

The number of allotments being provided has increased from the 25 originally announced in February 2020.

An artist's impression of how the Dewsbury Riverside development might look when it is completed

They had been estimated to cost £30,000 per 200sqm plot – a total of £750,000.

By upping the number to 43 the council will pump almost £1.3m into the project.

The plan was approved at a meeting of Kirklees Council’s strategic planning committee on June 3.

It means the council can get underway with its massive Dewsbury Riverside project, which will eventually see 4,000 houses built on a vast swathe of land – almost 400 acres – at Thornhill Lees between Ravensthorpe and Mirfield.

Approximately 1,869 homes will be built over the next 11 years on 70 acres of council-owned land.

The remaining 2,131 homes will be built after the council has bought a further tract of land, which is owned by the Diocese of Leeds, part of the Church of England.

It is a flagship scheme within the council’s controversial Local Plan which was approved in 2019.

The existing allotment land, off Lees Hall Road, will form part of an access “spine road” leading off from a new roundabout junction at Forge Lane.

The neighbouring Masjid Abu Bakr mosque and Lees Hall Playgroup, formerly the Blacker Arms pub, are also set to be demolished as part of the plan.

Coun Mohan Sokhal (Lab, Greenhead) sounded a note of caution over the plan and asked whether all current allotment holders had “universally agreed” to move from their plots.

He directly referenced the case of Cemetery Road Allotments in Birkby, Huddersfield, where a row over plots being taken as part of plans to build a new primary school had led to a legal challenge.

He said: “Most of the allotment holders agreed but some insisted they did not want to move out. There were only two, and those two took the case to the High Court.

"In the end, although the council won the case, it lasted nearly two years.

“I don’t want to see anything happening here if one or two current allotment holders are not happy to move [to Ravensthorpe Road].”