Leeds-Wakefield: Row erupts over business park plans

An un-neighbourly row is set to erupt over plans to build a major business park and stadium development close to the Leeds-Wakefield border.

Residents in Leeds are accusing Wakefield Council chiefs of leaving them in the dark over the plans, which includes a 19m home for Wakefield Wildcats.

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A major campaign is under way to block the 214-acre development at Newmarket Lane, Stanley.

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The Labour, Lib-Dem and Tory candidates for the Rothwell constituency, which is next to the proposed site, were yesterday united in a fight to block the scheme.

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A series of public meetings are also planned by residents living in Rothwell, Oulton, Methley, Ouzlewell Green, Altofts and Stanley.

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Protesters are objecting to the scheme on a number of grounds including loss of green belt land, increased traffic problems and lack of parking spaces for the 12,000-capacity stadium.

They also fear the development would increase the flood risk in the area and overwhelm local drainage systems.

Protester June Fender, from Methley, said: "This campaign is not about trying to stop Wakefield Wildcats from getting a new ground. No one begrudges them that.

"The stadium only takes up four per cent of what will be a huge industrial unit.

"The issue is the fact that it is being used as bait to get people to accept a massive industrial estate built next door to them on greenbelt land."

Andrew Booth, of Stanley, said: "All people are being told about is how get it is going to be get a new stadium.

"It's time realised what the full implications are.

"At the moment we are gathering a petition and holding meeting to gauge how strong the level of objection is."

In December Yorkcourt Properties announced details of the development, saying it would create thousands of jobs.

It was revealed the stadium will form part of a bigger business park development, including warehousing, offices, a hotel and restaurants.

Two years ago residents in Rothwell and Oulton successfully fought plans to build a so-called "eco-town" on green belt land near to the site, on the Leeds side of the M62.

Coun Stewart Golton (Lib Dem), Coun James Lewis (Lab) and Coun Alec Shelbrooke (Con), who are all standing for election to represent the Rothwell and Elmet ward, yesterday visited the site to voice their objections.

Coun Golton, who also represents Rothwell ward on Leeds City Council, said: "Leeds Councillors feel that they have been kept in the dark about the full extent of the plans – being told only about the Stadium proposals.

A spokesman for Yorkcourt said: "The concerns raised have all been addressed as part of the planning application. We have had a public consultation and met personally with residents of Newmarket Lane.

"We had a request from the Methley residents' association to go to their monthly meeting, which we attended.

"We have gone further than we are obliged to do in consulting with local residents."

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