LETTERS: Planning decision at Park Hill, Eastmoor

From: Janet Mackintosh, Wakefield Green Party member

By Jane Chippindale
Thursday, 10th February 2022, 8:43 am
Hundreds of trees off Park Lodge Lane are to be cut down.  Picture Scott Merrylees
Hundreds of trees off Park Lodge Lane are to be cut down. Picture Scott Merrylees

Janet Mackintosh writes: In 2001 local school children created Park Hill Community Woodland at Eastmoor by planting trees on the disused colliery site, creating both a green space amenity for local people and an area for birds and other wildlife to thrive.

Those trees have now matured and doing their bit towards reducing greenhouse pollutants which cause climate heating.

In May 2019, Wakefield Council made a commitment to plant thousands of trees around the district as part of its declared climate emergency action plan.

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Since then, many local people, firms, council staff and even staff from Premier Foods, Barnsley, have been following in the footsteps of those local school children by planting trees voluntarily to help Wakefield Council reach their target of trees planted for this winter.

So why, then, on December 16 2021, did the planning committee of Wakefield Council agree to the building of 116 houses and the destruction of 400 mature trees on the Park Hill Community Woodland site?

Only the Conservative councillor for Wakefield East challenged this decision. Apparently, our Labour councillors, one of whom happens to be the chair of the Climate Scrutiny Committee, failed to recognise the irony of promoting climate action on one hand and then agreeing to act against it on the other.

What a slap in the face for those local school children, to have their efforts to create a better natural environment for themselves and future generations trashed without so much as a local consultation process or, even, according to the planning application papers available on the council’s planning portal website, a wildlife impact assessment.

Yet another example of politicians failing to follow their own rules?