Dewsbury Country Park ..Another Way?
During the morning commute to work earlier this week a radical thought crossed my mind. Now you need to understand that the said commute involves my motor vehicle and I passing through such delightful places as Mirfield, Shepley Bridge, Ravensthorpe and the once industrial powerhouse of Dewsbury. Being a commute during the infamous scramble that we know as the rush hour I managed to enjoy all fifteen tracks from Physical Graffiti before passing into Dewsbury. For the benefit of our younger audience I fear that I should explain, Physical Graffiti is not some form of anarchic behaviour I entertain myself with whilst stationery in traffic. No, it is instead a rather good LP, sorry CD, no not CD, album, by a talented band that went by the name of Led Zeppelin.
It must have been around about track 13 when I crawled past the now defunct Flying Pig, oh excuse me, I forgot it’s the 21st century, I meant to say Rosey’s Bar. You know the one, opp’sit mosque. One of life’s biggest regrets is that I never had chance to frequent the said establishment before it inevitably closed down, and then burnt down. The bar, not the mosque, you understand.
Anyway, then it happened. I saw the sign. Tucked away between the mosque and Draysons was the entrance to the tip. Only as the signage at the roadside rightly pointed out, this is a tip no more. No, instead it is Dewsbury Country Park, a park built atop of what was the tip aka landfill site. It was one of those rare moments of epiphany. How ironic I thought that the council were spending money that they allegedly do not have developing a country park; planting lots of nice saplings, a few water features and hedgerows. Yet only a few miles up the road, they want to bulldoze and concrete over the real deal that nature spent a whole time longer creating for us.
Until I performed some subsequent research I was under the misguided impression that former landfill sites could not be used for development. We are probably all aware of the potential dangers of methane generated for years on such sites, or the potentially unknown buried contaminants. Well folks, I was wrong. A quick Google on building on former landfill sites not only presents you with the dangers, but also successful decontamination and development projects. On t’other side of the hill in Manchester, where they have a land shortage, the council are considering residential developments on such land. Here’s an article from the Manchester Evening News about the same http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/new-homes-could-built-landfill-6846415, and here’s just one UK based company that specialises in decontaminating such land and developing it for residential use http://www.wharfsideregeneration.co.uk/associated-companies/wharfside-regeneration-development-ltd/ .
So here’s the radical thought. The council sell the land known as Dewsbury Country Park to developers. This is not an insubstantial size of land, take a look at the map that highlights the park, and also (although not highlighted) includes proposed development H2089 at Sands Lane/Ravensthorpe Road and Lady Wood. In fact you know, without getting my ruler I’d be so bold as to suggest that the two areas are of a similar size. Just think of all the much needed extra shekels that Kirklees could generate from the sale of the former landfill site, pardon me, Country Park. All those cutbacks that they could avoid, minimise council tax increases. So why have Kirklees not considered the Country Park for development, after all they have included Bradley Golf Club in the draft Local Plan as a proposed development site.
Perhaps the council might argue that there is no infrastructure for the public to utilise the area around Lady Wood and Sands Lane as a recreational area. Well I’ve got news for the council, plenty of folk already do. But you know what, with all those spare shekels they would generate, why not purchase the odd field from Thornhill Farm. They could chuck down a bit of tarmac for a small car park to keep Kirklees Building Services busy, and even drop a couple of park benches in there overlooking Lady Wood.
It makes sense to me, even if you are not in agreement, surely the council should be obliged to be bold enough to at least consider it as an option. Controversial I know, but no more so than the proposed development of Sands Lane and Lady Wood.