A FACTORY has been given conditional approval to expand on to the green belt in Wainstalls village.
Heights UK – which designs and makes equipment for the graphic arts industry – said being able to expand would create 40 new jobs and safeguard the existing 90.
Councillors voted to “be mindful to approve” the plans to create two more industrial units on land between Wainstalls Road and Cold Edge Road. The application will now pass to the Secretary of State for a final ruling, as it goes against Calderdale’s unitary development plan, in which the site is labelled green belt and a special landscape area.
The nod was given to the scheme despite 64 letters of objection. Dozens of residents packed the planning committee room for the hearing. Resident John Peters, of Kell Lane, said the plan would create “an industrial esatate in the centre of our village”.
He added: “The scale and visual impact of such a development would be highly detrimental to the character of the village and its infrastructure.” Heights argued it had special circumstances that outweighed planning policy.
The meeting was told the plan was the only way the firm could expand after a previous attempt to relocate failed. The company had no plan B – if expansion was refused the business would decline.
Councillor Martin Peel (Con, Sowerby Bridge) said: “What does the company do? If it’s to maintain trading, it’s to be stuck in situ.”
He voted in favour, saying it would maintain employment in Calderdale.
Councillor David Hardy admitted the decision was very difficult but said: “We should be giving all our help to a company that is successful today, particularly one providing jobs”.
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