The Washpit Mills planning proposal for 50 plus houses and a gym in this peaceful Holme Valley backwater was predictably waved through by councillors on the Huddersfield Planning sub committee of 8th March. The Labour chair of the committee did the deed with his casting vote condoning continued obstruction of a long established public right of way through the site along with a requirement for locals to hang onto their wellies for the foreseeable future if they wish to paddle along Footpath 195.
In stark contrast to the cynicism displayed by labour councillors, yet again dumping on the Holme Valley, local residents who spoke to the committee were eloquent in their arguments against the proposals. Their considered words were of course completely ignored by our democratic representatives who only obey the Red Lord from Heckmondwike,Darth Sheard. He wishes to build, build, build -not affordable houses that are needed by local people but, in effect, a “council tax farm” to keep his empire afloat.
Local tory councillor Nigel Patrick had something of a “fight them on the beaches/Winston Churchill” moment calling out his own Highways officers who he suggested (with some justification) of “not looking at the same roads as me.”Describing how he worked closely with planners and highways officers Cllr Patrick described the report as “a slap in the face” and said he felt “let down”. Clearly the implication was that in all his meetings with planners and highways officers they’d not bothered to mention they were going to do the dirty on him when it came to committee.
He had a very telling point regarding a proposed footway which will have a dropped kerb to allow vehicles and HGV’s in particular to …er…. drive over it! “It’s total and utter nonsense,it’s pure fantasy a fairytale ” he continued. And he is right.
The problem with such committees in Kirklees is that they vote on party political lines and if Jones Homes or Wimpey came in and wanted the first born of every family in a tory ward before building so much as a garden shed our gormless labour councillors would oblige.
This approach is leading to the disregard and ruin of a significant proportion of the local rights of way network and countryside.If a local councillor of whatever persuasion can say in public that “I’m embarrassed to be associated with this council” then there really is something seriously wrong.
On a lighter note veteran Cllr Ken Simms described the sharp suited developers as “thinking we’re all daft and wear flat caps and clogs” He forgot the whippets and mine is rather offended.
Link to webcaste of the meeting.