Will Government inspector demand more homes from LDF

Fields near Hartshead which could be earmarked for industrial development
Fields near Hartshead which could be earmarked for industrial development

Kirklees may have to plan for an extra 7,500 homes, according to the leader of Kirklees Council.

The council has already earmarked sites to accommodate 22,470 houses in its Local Development Framework (LDF).

But at a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday Coun Mehboob Khan said he feared it was not enough and they could have to look at more green fields to make up the shortfall.

Earlier this year the independent planning inspector appointed to scrutinise the LDF criticised the council for failing to provide enough new housing and for not consulting enough with neighbouring authorities to produce a coherent regional plan.

Kirklees had then been expected to withdraw the plan, but instead, decided to wait until the outcome of Leeds’ LDF.

On Tuesday the Cabinet members agreed to hold a meeting with the Planning Inspectorate to address some of the concerns raised.

But Coun Khan warned they may be told to increase the number of houses.

He said: “As an estimate, instead of 22,500, it may be something approaching 30,000. It is something that we will find difficult to accommodate.”

The LDF has already earmarked sites around Kirklees on which to build 22,470 houses as well as industry. The plans include development on green belt land at Cooper Bridge, Chidswell and Thornhill Lees.

Mark Eastwood, from Chidswell Action Group, said: “We knew that the council would do this and are not surprised that they have asked for this meeting. We hope to be able to have some input into the meeting, and we would encourage all interested parties who the LDF plans affect to try and make sure they have their say on the plans.

“We feel that they have included too much green belt land in the plans – a concern which the planning inspector raised at the beginning.”

A date has yet to be set for the meeting.