Communities secretary Eric Pickles backs plans for 171 new homes in Wakefield

Members of Sandal Community Association outside the West Yorkshire Sports and Social Club. They are unhappy about plans to demolish the club and replace it with 138 home. (W543D327)
Members of Sandal Community Association outside the West Yorkshire Sports and Social Club. They are unhappy about plans to demolish the club and replace it with 138 home. (W543D327)
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Controversial plans to replace West Yorkshire Sports and Social Club in Sandal with 171 homes have been backed by communities secretary Eric Pickles.

Wakefield Council’s planning committee approved proposals to demolish the building to make way for the new homes last month.

The application was referred to the secretary of state because the site is a council-owned sports facility.

But a letter sent to Sandal Community Association on behalf of Mr Pickles said Wakefield Council will make the final decision.

The letter said: “The government is committed to give more power to councils to make their own decisions on planning issues. The Secretary of State has decided not to call in this application. He is content that it should be determined by the local planning authority.”

Sandal Community Association sent a letter of reply stating they felt there were more suitable areas for housing.

It said: “SCA appreciate there is a need for local authorities to provide a range of suitable new sites for housing development.

“We consider the council, as owners of the sports club site, and the developers have shown a lack of regard and sympathy for the objections and concerns of the local community regarding the damaging impact of these proposals.”

The application by Persimmon Homes WY and Charles Church WY for 171 homes includes 78 four-bedroom and 57 three-bedroom houses.

The sports club will move from its current grounds off Sandal Hall Close, Sandal, to a new site more than a mile away, off Shay Lane, Walton.

A spokesman from Wakefield Council said the authority will finalise the plans.

Once the decision has been finalised, permission will be given to the developers to start building.