Homes plan in East Bierley “needs deciding at committee”

St Luke's ChurchSt Luke's Church
St Luke's Church | Other 3rd Party
Planners in Kirklees have been urged to allow full and proper consultation over a proposed housing scheme at East Bierley.

Villagers living near land previously used to grow flowers as part of a defunct nursery business fear six homes earmarked for the site could be given the go-ahead despite notices not being posted locally.

The deadline for local feedback has been set as May 15 – but there are concerns that a lack of information provided during the lockdown period means some may not be able to register their views in time.

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And there have been calls for the contentious development to be decided at committee and not determined by officers.

Birstall-based Owens Developments Ltd submitted an application on March 27 to build six houses on land to the rear of St Luke’s Church Centre on South View Road.

Access would be via Bierley Marsh, which is an unadopted road.

Residents are concerned that the scale of the project is too dense and inappropriate given its proximity to a cenotaph and nearby green space in a conservation area.

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They also believe opening up the narrow road could allow for follow-on development on another nearby parcel of land, thus increasing traffic.

One said planning officers had neither visited the site nor posted notices about the scheme being mooted, which would have a knock-on around issues of consultation.

Currently there are 29 representations relating to the scheme, the majority of them objections.

One resident said the council had been lobbied to extend its consultation period and for the final decision to made at committee rather than by officers.

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“It’s a bit worrying if a decision is going to be made by one person. It feels like there’s a lack of process.

“A lot of the people living round here are elderly. They might not have access to the internet to be able to offer their thoughts on the council’s planning portal.

“It would be easier for them to see a notice posted in the neighbourhood, but that hasn’t happened.

“For them it’s got to be word of mouth: they need to see it on a notice.

“But because of the lockdown the council hasn’t done that.”

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The Local Democracy Reporting Service understands that notices may be about to go up near the land, giving locals 21 days to comment on the plans.

Kirklees Council has confirmed that it will hold its first virtual planning meeting on June 3, and that members of the public “will be able to exercise their right to speak.”

However during the lockdown period the authority has continued to make some planning decisions under the council’s scheme of delegation and constitution “where appropriate to do so.”

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