Fight to win green status for Chickenley Heath

A CAMPAIGN group’s efforts to stop houses being built on greenfield land have been dealt a blow by Kirklees Council.

Residents Against Greenfield Exploitation (RAGE) applied to have Chickenley Heath formally recognised as a village green after the council won permission to build 36 flats there.

But the council has objected to the village green application.

RAGE member Sally Mastronardi said it had been expected.

She said: “We are preparing our response at the moment.

“Unfortunately we are disadvantaged in that we don’t have an experienced lawyer or solicitor to represent or advise us.”

The council plans to build 36 flats on Chickenley Heath as part of its affordable housing programme, Excellent Homes for Life.

But RAGE wants a community park and garden on the council-owned site, which is bordered by Chickenley Lane, Princess Street, School Street and Heath Road.

To secure the village green status, RAGE must prove that a significant number of people in the area have used the land for sports and pastimes for at least 20 years.

It has already handed in evidence from 35 people who say it is used for various activities, including football, cycling, community bonfires, picnics and horse riding.

Mrs Mastronardi, who lives in School Street, said: “We live in the surrounding area and see people using the land on a daily basis, so we feel we know how the land is used.”

But she said the group would welcome more evidence from local people.

In its 22 page objection drawn up by a senior legal officer, Kirklees said there was only a “small minority of individuals” who claimed to use the land.

It said there was not enough evidence of use for sports and pastimes, the site was too overgrown in most places for any use at all and there were “numerous other formal play areas” nearby.

RAGE now has until early April to make its response.