A campaign to ensure what is said to be Robin Hood’s final resting place is protected from surrounding development is gathering pace.
The change.org petition calls on Calderdale Council to reject proposals to develop the area around, and possibly even part of, Kirklees Hall near Brighouse, where the Calderdale-Kirklees boundary runs through the site.
The major proposals are in fact part of neighbouring Kirklees Council’s Local Plan, which provides for potential Green Belt space at land around Cooper Bridge roundabout, close to the M62.
Earlier this year at the public inquiry into Kirklees Council’s Local Plan, opponents made their cases against the proposal, claiming the estate had many listed buildings and its views and setting would change completely.
But Keith Bloomfield, a Kirklees Council highways official, told the inquiry that £77m of road funding to improve the jammed up routes around Cooper Bridge had been authorised on the basis of the site being approved, providing jobs and economic growth.
A grave, not proven but said to be Robin Hood’s, is in Kirklees Hall’s grounds, believed to be the famous spot to where the dying outlaw fired his last arrow from the window of the priory and was buried as he requested.
The online petition – which can be accessed by logging on to https://www.change.org/p/save-robin-hood-s-grave-from-destruction – says: “We the undersigned petition the council to reject plans to develop the area surrounding Robin Hood’s grave in Calderdale into industrial units.
“Moreover to ask that the Council considers improving access to the area to encourage international tourism and bring visitors and money to our region.
“Robin Hood is an internationally renowned folk hero loved the world over by movie and television fans, and academics.
“Apart from two medieval manuscripts locked away in archives, there are very few tangible relics of Robin Hood in existence.
“As he is one of England’s foremost national heroes, the destruction of the grave site would be a loss to the local community, a loss for local heritage, and ultimately, a loss to the international community.”
At the Kirklees Local Plan hearing, Robert Bamforth, from the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE) was also somewhat critical of Calderdale Council’s own Draft Local Plan although the main focus of objectors was Kirklees.
He said: “Both councils are stretching the bounds of the green belt. The public will not understand. The only separation between Calderdale and Kirklees will be an open stretch of tarmac called the M62.”
But Calderdale Council’s Corporate Lead – Planning, Richard Seaman, said the issue was really with Kirklees Council.
“The potential employment allocation at Cooper Bridge is principally a matter for Kirklees Council and their Local Plan Inspector,” he said.
“Calderdale Council will continue to work closely with Kirklees to ensure the conservation of this important heritage site.
“Calderdale Council is not proposing to make any changes to its Green Belt boundary that would directly affect the Kirklees Estate.”
Castle Hill Earthworks, where the grave is, and Kirklees Priory at Clifton are parts of the estate both included in Calderdale’s entries in the Register of Ancient Monuments.
The gravestone reads: “Here underneath this little stone/Lies Robert, Earl of Huntingdon/Never archer were as he so good/And people called him Robin Hood/Such outlaws as he and his men/Will England never see again/Obit: 24 December 1247AD.”