CIVIC SOCIETY NEWS
CIVIC SOCIETY NEWS
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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