CIVIC SOCIETY NEWS
CIVIC SOCIETY NEWS
The Yorkshire Post has published the following story:
Campaign groups have said Government backing for the full electrification of the Transpennine rail route between York and Manchester would signal that it is serious about levelling up the North.
Huddersfield Unlimited and Huddersfield Civic Society say electrification, which has been twice postponed, represents “an immediate and tangible opportunity” to help drive the economy of towns like Huddersfield in the right direction.
Both organisations have written to Transport Secretary Grant Shapps asking him to demonstrate his commitment to full electrification of the entire Transpennine route, which was announced in July.
In their joint letter, Sir John Harman, chair of Huddersfield Unlimited, and David Wyles, chair of Huddersfield Civic Society, have urged the Government not to pass up “the best short-to-
medium-term opportunity of 'levelling up' for the North."
A decision made by Kirklees Strategic Planning Committee suggests the Council places little value on the heritage assets under its protection.
This is despite its commitment in LP35 of the Local Development Plan to ‘preserve and enhance the significance of heritage assets’.
The Civic Society believes that last Wednesday’s decision to approve the proposed development on Castle Hill, is indefensible and the proposal cannot be justified.
The proposed restaurant with rooms, café, bar and event facilities is an inappropriate development within the Green Belt.
As such, under national planning policy, permission must be refused unless ‘Very Special Circumstances’ are proven to justify what should be an exceptional intrusion into an area of Green Belt highly valued by local residents/ The key words are ‘very special’ and ‘proven’.
A number of local councillors joined the meeting and pointed out that no such case was made within the application. Indeed, three of the seven councillors also pointed out that the case for the development had not been appropriately justified and they voted against approval.
Despite this, the application was approved on a majority vote.
The Society has made no secret of its objection to the various proposals, over the last 15 years, since these have represented inappropriate development in the Green Belt ‘within’ the centre of a Scheduled Ancient Monument of local, regional, and national importance.
Historic England, tasked with protecting such assets, reconfirmed its objection ahead of the meeting, making plain no further attempts to address their substantial concerns had been made since January of this year.
Against this backdrop, Huddersfield Civic Society has decided that the planning considerations involved are of such significance that the application should be referred to the Secretary of State.
As a result of our request, the Secretary of State will, over the next six weeks, consider the application and determine whether the matters should be the subject of a Call-in Inquiry.
The concerns raised by the Society include:
We await the Secretary of State’s decision on whether these concerns justify Call-in.
Victoria Tower, Castle Hill picture by Vinny Tyrell
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