Anger at loss of rhubarb fields

Wrenthorpe residents in front of Rhubarb fields that the council plans to turn into development land.'Margaret Mitchell, Colin Firth, Liz Firth, Jon Rigby, Keith Orrell, Roy Mitchell, Margaret Smart and John Smart
Wrenthorpe residents in front of Rhubarb fields that the council plans to turn into development land.'Margaret Mitchell, Colin Firth, Liz Firth, Jon Rigby, Keith Orrell, Roy Mitchell, Margaret Smart and John Smart

ANGRY residents claim they have been ignored over controversial plans to replace rhubarb fields with houses.

More than 400 people attended a heated exhibition in Wrenthorpe Village Hall for four hours on Monday to confront Wakefield Council officers over the local development framework (LDF).

The document will change the face of the district over the next decade and includes plans to change greenbelt land at the north of Wrenthorpe to building land. Residents say rhubarb is currently grown there and the beds could be lost forever.

Resident Margaret Smart said: “The hall was absolutely packed as residents are still not happy with the plans and many were not even aware of the LDF.

“We don’t want to lose the greenbelt and become part of Leeds. We class ourselves as a village and are concerned about the infrastructure coping with extra homes.”

Residents in Ruskin and Barnes Avenues are upset that their objections to plans for 245 homes have also been ignored.

The site specific part of the LDF went out for consultation in August. It identified land that had been earmarked for everything from new homes, to travellers sites and business premises, as well as changes to the greenbelt and new transport schemes.

Monday’s exhibition gave residents the final opportunity to make comments before it is viewed by a government inspector and implemented by the council. It will form the basis against which planning applications are decided.

Wakefield Council is now looking holding another consultation event.

A spokeswoman said: “The council does promote the Rhubarb Festival and is proud of the district’s association with rhubarb growing. However, this particular site is not considered crucial to the continuation of rhubarb growing in the district.”