Council halts building on new homes in Cleckheaton after planning breaches

The building of a housing estate on fields bordering the M62 near Cleckheaton has been halted after Kirklees Council served a stop notice on the developer for breaching planning conditions.

By Tony Earnshaw, Local Democracy Reporting Service
Monday, 30th May 2022, 6:00 am

Coalville-based Barratt Developments Plc was hit with the order on May 16 for contravening planning control – such as digging trenches too close to the motorway and piling up loose earth that could be a potential hazard.

It means no more building until at least June 13.

The 11-acre sloping site off Whitechapel Road, close to Whitechapel Church, in Cleckheaton will eventually see 122 homes created.

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An aerial view of the building site, close to the M62 motorway, where work has been stopped on the orders of Kirklees Council. Image: Google

The stop notice, which cannot be appealed, was brought about following persistent pressure on planning breaches from local councillor Andrew Pinnock (Lib Dem, Cleckheaton).

He called it “a rare occurrence” and “a serious intervention”.

The formal notice says “it is expedient that the activity which amounts to the breach is stopped immediately”.

It relates to excavations, groundworks, engineering and construction that breaches conditions as it could be too close to the motorway. Consequently the work is unauthorised.

Coun Pinnock said he was not aware that pre-commencement conditions had been approved when work began. He also received complaints from local people about activities on site.

He said: “I feel totally justified in making a nuisance of myself in this matter.

"Councillors are there to represent the interests of local residents, and it is not in their interests that large development companies get away with flouting planning regulations without any consequences.

“The stop notice lasts until June 13, by which time I hope that agreement will have been reached on the matters they have not complied with. In particular there is a stipulation in the conditions that the developer should consult and inform local residents of what activities are due to take place on site.

"If these are not agreed, then the authority could take legal action.”

A spokesperson for Barratt Homes Yorkshire West apologised for any inconvenience residents around Whitechapel Road may have experienced and thanked them for their patience.

The spokesperson added: “We have today met with Highways England to discuss the adjustments that are needed for Barratt Homes to complete the new homes.

“In addition, we are aware of some disruption that local residents have experienced from construction vehicles.

"To resolve this, we plan to create additional parking for the vehicles to minimise the impact.”

The company will “continue to work closely with Highways England and the local planning authority” to ensure any issues are addressed.