Now is the time to have your say on the future of land in Kirklees.
The council is working on its Local Plan, which contains proposals for housing and employment across the district for many years to come. It sets out how we want to manage development so that there are enough homes for our growing population and so that we have a thriving economy – all helping local people to live happy and prosperous lives.
The future of the local economy depends on us adopting a long-term plan. As long as we remain without one, developers will continue having the opportunity to build wherever they like.
If we don’t get our Local Plan approved, the government will have a right to impose one. As the government have made housebuilding one of their priorities, this would lead to a free-for-all in which nothing is protected. And the government have also watered down the need for developers to consider the local infrastructure, so we could end up with thousands of new homes but little thought given to essential things like highways.
So, as you can see, the Local Plan that we’ve put forward for Kirklees is of vital importance. We are currently running a consultation about it, which is a chance for everyone to have their say. All comments will be taken into account and we’ll then issue a revised Local Plan, hoping to achieve sign-off and approval next year.
Kirklees is 70 per cent green belt land and the draft plan proposes to reduce that by only 1.7 per cent, focusing on those areas which would have the most positive impact on our economy. Just as important, we are also aiming to protect urban green space whilst still achieving what we need for the long term.
In terms of jobs and businesses, we need Kirklees to remain as attractive as possible to employers. The draft plan states that around 30,000 new jobs will be needed in the district by 2031, so it’s crucial that the right land is available to make that happen.
For business use, we have brought forward sites which are large, flat and adjacent to major roadways (among these are land by the A653 at Chidswell, by the A62 at Cooper Bridge, by the A636 at Clayton West, by junction 26 of the M62 at Cleckheaton and at North East Bierley). It’s also part of our strategic vision that the communities living close to those sites can benefit from the new opportunities being created.
In terms of meeting our housing need, we are going to require approximately 29,000 new homes by 2031. Around a third of these are already built or have planning permission, but that still leaves us needing land for an average 1,300 new homes every year.
This will clearly have a big impact on local infrastructure, such as highways and school places, but our Local Plan takes this into account. It’s important for me to highlight that the plan doesn’t propose for the council to build all these homes – it’s about determining which land across the district is made available for development.
There’s an excellent video below about the Kirklees Local Plan, while the easiest way to have your say is via our webpage. The consultation runs until December 21 – please do to get involved in shaping the future of our district.
Watch our local plan video