The ongoing saga of Robin Hood’s grave echoes public fears surrounding sites may be overdeveloped, says a Brighouse councillor.
Rapidly approaching its 5,000 signature target, a petition aims to secure what is said to be the famous outlaw’s final resting place, on the Calderdale side of the border with Kirklees which runs through historic Kirklees Hall near Brighouse.
The petition urges rejection of a part of Kirklees Council’s Local Plan which could see green belt space close to Kirklees Hall around Cooper Bridge roundabout close to the M62 motorway developed as industrial space and asks the same of Calderdale Council.
But both councils are looking to overdevelop land in the vicinity of the grave when they should be looking harder at its tourism potential, says leader of the Conservative group on Calderdale Council Scott Benton.
Councillor Benton, who represents Brighouse ward, said the site, which legend says is where an arrow shot from Kirklees Priory by a dying Robin Hood landed and became his final resting place, is of importance historically and in promoting tourism.
“Calderdale Council often speaks about the importance of tourism and attracting people into the area.
“Improving access to the site and promoting the grave as an important part of our local history is an obvious way to attract more visitors to our area and to support the local economy,” he said.
“But instead of working with local historical groups to promote the site, Calderdale is looking to overdevelop the area in the vicinity of the grave by promoting a new industrial park – something which is opposed by the vast majority of local people in Clifton and Kirklees Hall.
“In addition to this, Kirklees Council are also looking to develop an industrial park just a few hundred yards from the site.
“Dozens of people around Brighouse have contacted me to express their concern at the overdevelopment of the site and don’t feel that either council is taking the heritage issues connected with the site seriously enough in their rush to drive through their plans for development in the area.”
Earlier this year at the public inquiry into Kirklees Council’s Local Plan, opponents made their cases against that authority’s proposal.
However, 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.
Last week Calderdale Council’s Corporate Lead – Planning, Richard Seaman, said the issue was really with Kirklees.
“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,” he said.