Village in ‘demise’ after losing services

AGM of Briestfield History Society
AGM of Briestfield History Society

The struggles facing village life were discussed at a meeting of Briestfield History and Community Group this week.

Chairman John Lyte said the village, which has lost its chapel, pub, community centre and shop over the years, was feeling increasingly isolated.

Mr Lyte said: “We’ve got less than we had 30 years ago. It’s the demise of the local village. We are not a poor area, we know that. But when you look at what other areas get, we don’t get much.”

The group met at the only remaining community building left in the village, The Shoulder of Mutton.

Top of the agenda was the derelict former village hall. Barry Jackson, a former architect from Thornhill, has this month branded the dilapidated building “a danger to the public”.

Villagers are trying to get the building, which is privately owned, pulled down. Mr Lyte said: “The building is an eyesore – this is what people see when they first come into Dewsbury.”

Stuart Hartley, an architect from the village, said a Kirklees planning officer would be a paying a visit to investigate the site.

Kirklees Council have said they do not know who owns the building and that there is no planning activity scheduled on the building.

The use of Briestfield Road as a rat-run has also been concerning villagers. Mr Lyte said: “We have a problem with traffic through the village but we’re getting nowhere.”

Bus services to the village were abandoned in 2006, leaving elderly residents cut off, Mr Lyte said. “We’re feeling frustrated at the moment,” he added.

Coun Masood Ahmed (Lab, Dews South) said he had not received any calls or emails from Briestfield residents since the start of the year.

He added: “I am more than happy to go up there and deal with any issues they have. This isn’t about politics – I represent the whole of Dewsbury South and these people are my constituents.”