LETTERS: Hands off green belt land - say no to M&S

It is beyond belief that Sandal Property Group, acting for Woodhead Investments, is now preparing to submit a planning application for a retail development expansion at Sandal (Wakefield Express, ‘People have say on new M&S store’, February 19).

I attended the poorly advertised exhibition event referred to in the article. I neither saw nor heard anything from Woodheads to indicate the land formed part of Wakefield’s Leisure, Recreation and Open Space policies. There was no mention either of the fact that the proposed development would lie in the Green Belt and in a flood zone; or that there would be serious issues in regard to traffic, air pollution, habitat corridors, urban sprawl and the setting of historic sites.

From what I could ascertain, there was a resounding no to the question posed by the developers: do you support these plans? There was also a resounding no on the feedback forms handed in at the exhibition event.

I think the people of Sandal should know that the proposed M&S outlet only forms part of what the developer intends to be an extensive retail park at Sandal. This would, of course, have implications for other retail centres, Wakefield City Centre in particular. I deplore this attempt to use the requirement for ‘pre-application consultations’ to try to alter Green Belt boundaries.

Sandal Property Group should know better. Land cannot just be taken out of the Green Belt without proper consultation procedures first being followed and without proper engagement by the council with communities in the immediate locality.

I, for one, say to Woodhead Investments hands off. The Green Belt at Sandal should be cherished and protected. Its openness is not only visually pleasing but it keeps residents in tune with the changing seasons and with nature. The area around Pugneys provides a clean breathing space for both people and wildlife, and is, in fact, the lungs of Sandal. We don’t want to lose it.

James M Donlon

Durkar Low Lane,

Wakefield