'40 tonne trucks and children don't mix': Safety fears over homes plan for former Featherstone school site

Homes will be built on the site of a former junior school, despite concerns being raised about children's safety.

By David Spereall
Friday, 16th July 2021, 9:51 am
Updated Friday, 16th July 2021, 9:52 am

Planning permission for 34 homes to be built on Pontefract Road in Featherstone was granted at a meeting on Thursday.

The houses will be a mix of three and four bedroom properties, semi-detached and terraced.

But the meeting was told that secondary schoolchildren walking to Featherstone Academy, which is behind the site in question, as well as people going to the adjacent sports complex, could be put at risk by the development.

The site is located on Pontefract Road, which Councillor Taylor said is beset by speeding problems.

The old school building itself has been shut for nearly 10 years.

Speaking on behalf of Featherstone Town Council, who'd objected to the plans, Coun Dick Taylor said: "We don't object to building on that land. It's what they're going to build that's the problem.

"We have grave reservations.

"40 tonne trucks and children don't mix and there will be a lot of 40 tonne trucks going down there.

Councillor Dick Taylor spoke out against the plans at Thursday's meeting.

"It's OK to accept it when you don't live round there, your children don't go to that school and you don't go to the sports centre.

"It's not a safe road. Three days a week we need speed cameras on the top of the hill.

"The access is unacceptable."

Coun Taylor also objected to the proposed height of the homes, saying they were too big and would not fit in with the local landscape.

But speaking on behalf of the developers, Candy Day told the meeting that an "in-depth" transport assessment by an independent consultant had effectively backed the proposals.

She said that four accidents had occurred on Pontefract Road in the last five years and none of them were linked to the access road which the new homes will use.

That access road is the same as the one used by the sports complex and Featherstone Academy.

Ms Day said: "There's no reason on highways or transport grounds that this development should not be approved."

"In terms of the house types, we have tried to keep them in line with what already exists in the area.

"They will not be three or four storeys, they will be two-and-a-half.

"We are a local company supporting local labour. We're redeveloping a brownfield site that's become a target for anti-social behaviour.

"We're removing asbestos which could pose a threat to anyone who enters the building."

Ms Day was quizzed about the appearance of the homes by the planning committee, with Councillor Kathy Scott questioning whether some of the properties' bedrooms were big enough.

Coun Scott said: "If you can get a single bed in and nothing else then to me that's not a bedroom.

"I do get annoyed about the size of some of the properties we allow to be built."

Ms Day responded: "We've never had any complaints about the homes we've built before.

"They're quite standard sizes for three-bed homes.

"People need a range of housing types."

Councillors approved the proposals, albeit with a condition to force construction vehicles to using the access road at the same times as schoolchildren.

Local Democracy Reporting Service