Calderdale firm on the move despite controversial factory plan

An artists impression of the proposed Aflex plastic hose factory at Bradley Business Park,
An artists impression of the proposed Aflex plastic hose factory at Bradley Business Park,

A contentious plan by a Calderdale firm to build a new huge plastic hose-making factory in Huddersfield has been approved by councillors despite residents’ concerns over fumes and odours.

However, disappointed campaigners have vowed to rigorously monitor the development to ensure stringent conditions are met and vowed: “We will make their lives a misery.”

Kirklees Council received hundreds of objections to plans by Calderdale firm Aflex Hose to relocate to Bradley.

The hi-tech firm makes specialist hoses for industry, including for car brakes and engines, around the world.

Campaigners raised concerns about the materials used for the hoses, but Aflex Hose previously said there was no risk from the raw products used in their production process.

It is looking to consolidate its four Calderdale sites onto the one base at the business park off Bradley Road, close to the M62.

The land is presently undeveloped and has been described as “a wilderness”.

A spokesman for Aflex described the proposal as “a huge win for Kirklees”.

But people living on the adjacent luxury housing estate, who have vociferously opposed the plan, turned out in force to hear councillors approve the scheme.

Chairman of Allies Against Aflex, John Moyles, said the council had failed to listen to residents and that their decision was based on officers’ inaccurate reports.

“We expected this decision because the case officer said that he was going to put it forward for approval.

“We fought a good fight, but it’s not the end. We will review what has been said, look at the conditions and how they will be drawn up.

“We will ensure that everything that they said was going to be done is adhered to. If we see anything that is going to contaminate that habitat we will contact environmental health.

“We will make their lives a misery.”

Planning officers told the Strategic Planning Committee that Aflex would run a 24-hour operation from the 11.6 acre (4.7 hectare) site but that the noisiest activities would occur during normal workday hours.

The site would eventually employ 500 people, with many expected to be transported there via shuttle bus.

Buildings, the biggest being more than 17,000 sq m in size and 27m high, would be more than 50m from the nearest house and screened by trees.

Among the speakers against the plan was retired chartered architectural technologist David Ashwell, whose home borders the site.

He described the plan as an overdevelopment that would dwarf all other buildings in the vicinity.

He added: “Good design should be sympathetic to the local built environment both in scale and detail and should provide a high standard of amenity for neighbouring occupiers.

“These proposals do neither.”