Lib Dems call for new LDF timetable

UNDER FIRE Council leader Mehboob KhanUNDER FIRE Council leader Mehboob Khan
UNDER FIRE Council leader Mehboob Khan
The Lib Dems have warned green space in Mirfield is under threat – and is demanding action from the Labour group to protect it.

The Lib Dems say Balderstone Hall Lane is under threat because the Labour controlled council has no up-to-date planning strategy.

The area was protected under the council’s last development plan as ‘provisional open land (POL)’ but the Lib Dems say development of another POL space in Lower Blacup, Cleckheaton, has set a precedent, meaning other POL sites are threatened.

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And they say in order to protect similar land, Labour needs to put forward its timetable for the Local Development Framework (LDF), its 15-year housing and business development plan, by the end of January.

Coun John Lawson (Lib Dem, Cleckheaton) said: “The time for the blame game is over. We need Labour to start making real progress and we want to know what they are planning to do by the end of the month.

“The site off Upper Batley Lane is at potential risk and will not be safe until a new core strategy is submitted.”

Coun Lawson said his party had submitted a motion calling for Labour to put forward a timetable for its revised Local Development Framework (LDF) core strategy, which is the council’s 15-year land development plan, by the end of January.

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The council’s previous LDF core strategy was dropped after a planning inspector raised concerns over use of green belt, housing numbers and lack of collaboration with neighbouring authorities.

He said: “The Lower Blacup appeal set a legal precedent which makes fighting planning applications on grounds of a site’s POL designation practically impossible. Already there are applications for development on POL being agreed at a committee level because of it.”

“Our hope is that a full council resolution demanding to know what is happening and when it will happen will force Labour into taking responsibility for resolving this crucial matter for the local area.”

Coun Mehboob Khan, Kirklees Labour Party and council leader, said: “We will publish the timescale when we are ready.

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“The Lib Dems ran the council from 2000 to 2006 and did nothing to progress the LDF so they are showing the ultimate cheek pushing us to publish something in a fortnight when they had six years to do that.

“We are not going to make any hasty decisions and we want to make sure we get it right. The land is at risk and a decision from their government to reduce the requirement for a five year supply of land to two would protect all our open land.”

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