Action group speaks out

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It is time that the full facts were told about the Chidswell site (also known as the Windsor Site) and who is to benefit and who are the losers.

We are not against a plan for development which will provide much-needed employment and housing. What we are against is the distribution and allocation of those needs in the wrong locations and the short-sightedness of the people who are making the decisions.

Twelve years ago this site was a proposed opencast mining area approved by Kirklees Council. This was overturned by the Government on appeal. The site is an area of traditional hedgerows and fields running into natural streams, woodland and a network of footpaths and is home to many protected species.

Kirklees Council placed the site within its LDF development package. From the outset it did not consider UK Coal as a consultee and interested party in mineral extraction within the area. This was corrected at a later date following our group’s initial concerns. The effect of these proposals, if approved, would be to allow UK Coal to extract the minerals prior to any development. UK Coal decided not to retain the land and sold it, having the right to extract the coal. We do not know how much of this the Church of England knew prior to its recent purchase.

The church feels it will make a profit on the green belt land when turned into development land, but it is more likely the land will never be developed due to extra costs of the remediation of the land following the open cast operation.

The only winner in this is UK Coal at the expense of misery and distress caused to the local community. Who could be our saviour? The church could dedicate the land to the community for their enjoyment. The council? We do not hold out much hope for this.

We as an action group will continue to fight for what we believe in and it may only be at the stage where the Government is able to have its input that a sensible solution is found for the needs of our future generations.