Increased flooding fears on ancient Mirfield meadow where housing estate is planned

Members of Granny Lane Area Action Group (GLAAG) by meadowland in Hopton Bottom, near Mirfield, destined for housing
Members of Granny Lane Area Action Group (GLAAG) by meadowland in Hopton Bottom, near Mirfield, destined for housing

A housing estate planned for meadowland near Mirfield will lead to increased flooding in the area, claim residents.

Locals living in Hopton Bottom, close to the River Calder, say an ancient water meadow bordering narrow Granny Lane has acted as a natural floodplain for more than a millennium.

But they fear building on the land will only exacerbate periodic flooding, which, they say, is becoming more frequent.

Wakefield-based Miller Homes intends to build 67 houses on the field, west of Grade II listed Sheep Ings Farm, which has been allocated for housing as part of Kirklees Council’s Local Plan.

Residents have now formed Granny Lane Area Action Group (GLAAG) to protest against construction work and to raise their concerns with planning and highways chiefs.

They expect to speak at a planning meeting in Huddersfield Town Hall next month.

They are being supported by campaign group Save Mirfield, which fought and won a battle to stop pastureland at Balderstone Hall Fields being turned into a housing estate.

“We have three primary concerns: flooding, narrow roads and traffic,” said a GLAAG spokeswoman.

“The name ‘Ings’ is a Norse word meaning water meadow. This has been a floodplain for thousands of years.

“It soaks up a certain amount but in very bad weather it just floods. The land can’t cope.”

She said the area floods from two points: from the River Calder, just 100 yards away, and the flow down from the hills that can overwhelm underground culverts.

“River flooding is occurring more and more frequently on Granny Lane and further down at Steanard Lane. People have had to evacuate their homes. They can’t get flood insurance.

“Millions of pounds has been spent on flood defences in Hebden Bridge and Mytholmroyd but all that will do is force the water further downstream. That makes a bigger problem here.”

Residents also worry about the narrowness of Granny Lane – and the speed of some drivers who may be unfamiliar with the road and its proximity to the river.

They say the proposed entrance into the development area is wholly unsuitable and that large-scale construction vehicles will struggle to get in and out, putting nearby properties at risk.

Locals have already witnessed several accidents – some minor, some serious. And they believe a fatal crash is an inevitability.

The GLAAG spokeswoman said: “This is a 30mph road but not all drivers stick to that. Farm vehicles often come through here and can have difficulty because the lane is of substandard width.

“And when the Dewsbury Riverside development gets underway we fear that the only route out will be along this road.

“Granny Lane is also a rat run and a racetrack road with blind bends, pinch points and some low bridges. Safety is our biggest concern. We’re all very worried.”

Kirklees’ Local Plan, which will see tens of thousands of new homes built in the borough, was adopted in February.