Letter to Paula Sherriff MP
Here is a copy of an email sent to our local Member of Parliament, Paula Sherriff MP, on 22 March 2016. A response has yet to be forthcoming therefore it was thought that the following timer would be a useful aid-memoir. Update 29 April 2016 - response received yesterday, which is 36 days therefore the timer has now stopped! See our seperate blog post for an update.
Sent: 22 March 2016 16:52:39 GMT+00:00
To: "firstname.lastname@example.org" <email@example.com>
Subject: Kirklees (Draft) Local Plan Site H2089
Dear Ms. Sherriff,
KIRKLEES (DRAFT) LOCAL PLAN SITE H2089
You will no doubt be aware of that Kirklees Council published their draft local plan in the final quarter of 2015. You may also be aware that the plan includes proposals for 4,000 new houses on greenbelt land located between Ravensthorpe Road (Thornhill Lees, Dewsbury South) and Sands Lane (Mirfield ward). The site is referred to within the plans as "Site H2089". Lady Wood, an unspoilt woodland, is also located within the area of the proposed development.
This email does not concern the wider issue of whether or not there is a housing shortage. Instead it concerns the preservation of the greenbelt land that currently prevents urban sprawl between Dewsbury and Mirfield, two very distinct towns. Section 9 of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) puts great importance on the preservation of greenbelt land. Paragraph 79 of the NPPF specifically states that the purpose of greenbelt land is to "...prevent urban sprawl by keeping land permanently open". Paragraph 80 goes further and states that greenbelt serves to "...
i.check the unrestricted sprawl of large built-up areas;
ii.prevent neighbouring towns merging into one another; and
iii.assist in safeguarding the countryside from encroachment."
The land located between Ravensthorpe Road and Sands Lane meets all of these criteria. The area is already enjoyed on a daily basis by cyclists, ramblers, dog-walkers, and horse riders alike. Hundreds of people can be witnessed enjoying the area on a daily basis. The woods and greenbelt fields are home to an abundance of protected wildlife. Owls, badgers, bats, great crested newts and a wide variety of birds can be found within the proposed development area. Paragraph 81 of the NPPF states that “Once Green Belts have been defined, local planning authorities should plan positively to enhance the beneficial use of the Green Belt, such as looking for opportunities to provide access; to provide opportunities for outdoor sport and recreation; to retain and enhance landscapes, visual amenity and biodiversity”.
The crucial paragraph in the NPPF is paragraph 83, which states that greenbelt boundaries must only be changed under “exceptional circumstances”. The Council have not attempted to demonstrate any exceptional circumstances, and I would suggest that there are no such circumstances in this instance, to justify the proposed development.
If the council genuinely believe that there is a requirement for the stated number of houses, then they should not be built on greenbelt. Indeed I would aver that the proposed development is contrary to paragraph 47 of the NPPF. The stated paragraph specifically requires the Objectively Assessed Housing Need to be reduced if there is an insufficient supply of land. If the Council are suggesting that there are no other suitable locations available (which I would find extremely hard to believe considering the amount of undeveloped land within Kirklees) then they must, as per paragraph 47, reduce the number of proposed houses and not instead force them upon greenbelt contravening section 9 of the NPPF.
You should also be made aware that whilst the proposed development straddles the Mirfield and Dewsbury South ward boundaries, the supporting maps to the Local Plan of proposed housing allocations within Mirfield do not make reference to this development. Instead they show the area as untouched with no proposed development. This is a blatant misrepresentation of the facts.
I therefore respectfully request for your support in having Kirklees remove the proposed site H2089 from the Local Plan, and keep the area greenbelt for the enjoyment of the local community at large. A local group have just recently (this month) launched a campaign against the proposed development. Details can be found at www.horsesnothouses.com . You will also find there a link to the group’s facebook and twitter pages, and an online petition that you may wish to sign. You may also find the latest blog article on the site “Dewsbury Country Park…Another Way?” an enlightening read.
|Homewww.horsesnothouses.comCampaign to protect the greenbelt land and fields around Sands Lane and Lady Wood Mirfield. Kirklees Council have issued a draft local plan that includes the development of 4,000 new houses on our greenbelt land. We believe that the council's calculation of the housing requirement, or objectively assessed housing need (OAN), is grossly overstated. In any event, the building of 4,000 new houses on greenbelt land, effectively joining Mirfield and Dewsbury as one town, is not the correct solution to an alleged housing shortage.|
Thank you for your attention to this matter.