Jobs, new homes, and a park and ride for Wakefield?

Colin Mackie, MD of Yorkcourt Properties
Colin Mackie, MD of Yorkcourt Properties

A MASSIVE new housing development will create 3,000 new jobs.

The scheme to build 1,234 homes alongside shops, units and leisure facilities on a 44-hectare site at Snowhill, in the north of the city, was given the go-ahead yesterday.

Yorkcourt Properties, which owns the neighbouring Paragon Business Park, said the project will create 3,000 jobs and be built in stages during the next 10 years.

The developers will also pay towards a proposed 400 space Park and Ride system to ease traffic congestion in the city, as part of the planning agreement, which is currently being considered by Wakefield Council.

Yorkcourt will also contribute £2.85m towards improvements to junction 41 of the M1 motorway and £1m towards changes on the A61 and A650 corridor.

But more than 100 people living nearby on Bradford Road, Snowhill Rise, Snowhill Close and Whitehall Crescent have reacted angrily to the scheme.

They have objected on the grounds it will cause traffic chaos with an extra 1,000 vehicles arriving and leaving the site daily.

And they also say it will disrupt wildlife and the height of the buildings will ruin the landscape.

Janis Buckley, of Bradford Road, said: “I cannot believe they have approved this scheme after all the issues we have raised.

“Traffic is already bad in that area and we often struggle to cross Bradford Road.

“We also feel the height of the building is too much, as it is exaggerated by being on a hill.”

Wakefield Council’s planning and highways committee approved the application which will see White Hall Farm and existing buildings within the council’s Newton Bar complex demolished to make way for it.

At the meeting Coun David Hopkins voted against the proposal.

He said: “I can see the need to develop this site, but this application is going to significantly increase the amount of traffic and have a detrimental impact on that part of the city.

“I do not think we have enough information to make sure we protect the residents who live in that area.”

Ten percent of properties will be allocated as affordable housing and access into the site is proposed through Paragon Business Park, off Bradford Road and from Leeds Road roundabout.

Further planning applications will have to be approved to iron out details about the size of homes and what businesses will be included.

Although Yorkcourt Properties has been given planning permission for the site, one third of it belongs to both the council and receivers, who in turn can start development.

Ian Thomson, Wakefield Council’s service director for planning, transportation and highways, said: “Park and Ride is one of a range of possible schemes being considered by the council as part of our bid to minimise traffic congestion and improve public transport links, but no scheme has yet been approved or funding agreed.

“If such a scheme were to be proposed in this vicinity then the proposed development could contribute towards its delivery.”