Wakefield campaigners fighting to save ‘last piece of green belt land’

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CAMPAIGNERS fighting plans for a new three-quarter-mile long access road through what they claim is the last area of green belt land close to Wakefield city centre have staged a demonstration.

More than a dozen members of the Friends off Newton Hill held a protest on the land off Ouchthorpe Lane at Newton Hill today (Weds July 9), to coincide with a site visit by members of Wakefield Council’s Planning and Highways Committee.

The proposed road is planned on a green public footpath, which runs between the rear of houses on Hatfield View and agricultural land off Oucthorpe Lane.

Developer Miller Homes is seeking permission to build an access road to a proposed development of 68 homes in a field close to Pinderfields and Fieldhead hospitals.

A new public footpath would be created next to the new road.

The plans for the road and homes are recommended for approval at Friday’s meeting of Wakefield Council’s Planning and Highways Committee.

Lee Birmingham, 41, who represents more than 60 members of the Friends of Newton Hill, said: “They want to build an access road on the last piece of green belt in the WF1 postcode of Wakefield. Dog walkers and ramblers use the public footpath. It gives access to countryside and is idyllic and peaceful.

“The green belt land would be taken for a development of only 68 homes. The size of the road is disproportionate to the the size of the development.”

Mr Birmingham said the group also has safety concerns over visibility for road users at the proposed new junction with Ouchthorpe Lane.

Retired engineer Derek Jones, 71, lives directly next to the proposed new junction on Oucthorpe Lane.

The great-grandfather said: “I have been walking along the footpath since 1953. There will be a loss of natural amenity.”

A report to Friday’s planning meeting states: “The proposed route through the green belt has ben determined as the most viable to deliver the housing allocation. It is acknowledged that significant objection has ben raised to the principle of the route through the green belt, however it is considered that the visual impact would be mitigated to within acceptable limits.”

A spokeswoman for Miller Homes said: “The land on which we are proposing to build houses has been allocated by Wakefield MDC for residential development. We have addressed all the technical aspects of developing the site in the information that we have submitted to the Local Authority and now await the Council’s decision at the Planning Panel on Friday.”

Tony Burdin, chief executive of Sheffield Mutual Friendly Society

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