Decision made over plans to create new Calderdale wetland nature reserve

A new wetland nature reserve will be developed on a former playing fields site in Calderdale.

Sunday, 6th December 2020, 8:00 am

Calderdale Council has received permission from its Planning Committee to develop the nature reserve on playing fields which used to be used by Calder High School at Brearley Fields, Moderna Way, Mytholmroyd, subject to a final go-ahead from the Secretary of State following an objection from Sport England.

Planning officer Maria Bailey said Sport England were still objecting to the application because they did not believe the proposed development met its exceptions for losing a sports field and were supported in this view by the Football Foundation.

Coun Stephen Baines (Con, Northowram and Shelf) pointed out this particular area of land was often under water.

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Brearley Fields in Mytholmroyd

“Quite often this site is flooded in the winter months and certainly after any high rainfall at whatever time of year, which is why the school has stopped using it,” he said.

Ms Bailey said the proposals would actually improve the remaining adjoining pitches which were used, offering better drainage.

Coun Scott Patient (Lab, Luddenden Foot), who is a Mytholmroyd resident, flood warden and council Cabinet member for Climate Change and Resilience, said there was no loss of formal pitches, they had not been used for around a decade.

A bund would be created between the new wetland area and the pitches which were being retained, offering them more protection while this site would be re-wilded.

This would link up with cycleways and be fully accessible for disabled people to be able to enjoy the nature site – already rare wildlife species had been seen there.

Mayor of Hebden Royd, Coun Val Stevens, added her council’s support and said it was a scheme welcomed by all.

“Whilst we wouldn’t want to take issue with Sport England, perhaps the town council and residents are a bit closer to wetlands and water than they are,” she said.

Another plan, to provide a new shared use walking and cycling area on playing fields opposite White Houses, Burnley Road, Mytholmroyd, was withdrawn from the planning list as Sport England, the only objectors, had withdrawn their objection to the proposals for that site.