New council homes for Spen

CARE: An artist's impression of one of the extra care housing schemes.
CARE: An artist's impression of one of the extra care housing schemes.

MORE than 150 brand new council houses are to be built in Spen.

The 161 homes are to be built on seven sites and form part of a wider £92.7m project throughout Kirklees.

Of the properties, 121 will be one and two bedroom homes for small families, and there will be 53 extra support homes for older people within a housing scheme at the former Fairfield School site in Dale Lane, Heckmondwike. The site has been derelict for more than four years after the school was rebuilt in nearby White Lee.

In Hightown, six homes will be built in Hare Park Close, and 18 will be built on the empty Hare Park Grange site in Hare Park Lane. In Liversedge, 28 homes will be built on the former Sampson Grange site in Sampson Street. Both Hare Park and Sampson Granges were closed under Kirklees Council’s 2002 review of older people’s services.

In Windy Bank, six homes will be built in Second Avenue, and 10 will be built in Foldings Avenue, Cleckheaton.

In Heckmondwike, 40 homes will be built in Lobley Street on the former Social Education Centre site.

Councillors Margaret Bates (Con, Liversedge and Gomersal) and Kath Pinnock (Lib Dem, Cleckheaton) welcomed the news.

Coun Bates said: “Homes for older people are needed because some may wish to downsize. Affordable homes are welcome for young families who may not be able to get on the property ladder.”

Coun Pinnock said it was good news – but it was long-awaited as she had put in the bid for the homes in 2003.

She said: “The PFI process is complicated and very expensive. It has cost the council £3m. Why didn’t the government just give the council the money? The homes could have been built, with people living in them five years ago.”

Spen MP Mike Wood said: “I regret that this has been done through PFI which is very expensive, but with the housing waiting list that we have, new high quality council homes are just what we need.”

A Kirklees Council spokesman said: “This project was considered alongside similar national schemes and the council is delighted central government gave the green light to proceed. The investment of £92.5m into Kirklees represents a major opportunity, both to provide much needed affordable housing and to stimulate the local economy.”

See p11 for the full Kirklees picture.