Meltham Footpath 21 & The Planners without a plan

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Meltham Footpath 21

Sadly Meltham Footpath 21 will bite the dust. A Victim of the planners without a plan. This speculative planning application which I  mentioned back in the spring was approved at Committee on November 23rd 2017.

It seems all any developer has to do to obtain planning permission on provisional open land (ie protected land) in Kirklees is to meet the Highways specifications for sight lines. The members of the planning committee will then approve the application because “we’ll only lose it on appeal”. Council planning officers  will say “we can’t demonstrate a 5 year housing supply so we can’t refuse it” And another green field and public path is trashed. I think in these instances Kirklees should just splash out on a big rubber stamp and dispense with the committee and planners and save us all the time and trouble.

It really is a sorry state of affairs when local councillors are not prepared to show a bit of backbone and put together a coherent argument against planning applications such as this. At the moment they are being granted because committee members are second guessing what a planning inspector may decide and running scared of losing. Have a go for f!8/’s sake.

It was clear that members of the committee had genuine concerns about the application but voted out of fear rather than what they believed in. This will continue to happen whilst the Council is without a local plan and the result will be the cherry picking by developers of  greenfield sites and a dog’s dinner of inappropriate building all over the district. And of course as far as this blog is concerned the loss of many green and pleasant footpaths in the process.

Meltham Town Council sent in a long submission during the consultation process yet no Town Councillor turned up for the committee meeting to follow this up. I’ve a feeling that if someone had they could have made a difference. Perhaps they all had better things to do?

As far as the path goes planners seem to think that as long as people can still walk from A to B down a path squeezed between fences,used as a dog’s toilet and covered in garden waste (which is inevitably what happens) then that’s fine. They have no sense of the value or enjoyment anyone might get from walking along a lovely green holly hedge,in a green field towards some woodland. Those aspects of the right of way will be lost here without ever being properly considered as they should be. That’s because planners and councillors are operating on a much bigger scale of destruction and  are seemingly happy to lay waste to the countryside because,well, it makes life easier for them all.

Meltham Footpath 21 under threat

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A Meltham Rainbow

This is a cheeky little effort affecting Meltham Footpath 21 and the lovely green field which the footpath crosses. The Meltham Greenway also borders one side of the site and the field is designated as provisional open land in the Kirklees Unitary Development plan and would not normally be subject to development. The developers justifications for the site do make interesting reading and once again it would appear that Kirklees is failing to do things properly which in turn leads to threats to countryside access.

The planning permission applied for is for an access only to the site from Huddersfield Road and appears in reality an attempt to establish the principle of development on the site. There is no serious consideration of Meltham Footpath 21, the Greenway or loss of the open space.

The application can be viewed here.

Meltham Footpath 21 Planning Application 

Comments are open until 13th July 2017