Plan to turn piggery and barn into homes on greenbelt farmland will set ‘devastating precedent’, objectors claim
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Permission has been sought to transform a barn and former piggery into five new homes at Highfield Farm, off Batley Road.
Planning chiefs at Wakefield Council have welcomed the scheme in principle, subject to a full planning application being submitted.
Plans include building two three-bed and three two-bed properties.
The local authority has granted “prior approval” to the application, despite objections from 18 residents.
One objection on the council’s planning website states: “I have had concerns and worries for many years regarding the potential development of this whole area of green belt/farming land.
“I feel any development of this area would be devastating.
“The proposed development would set a precedent to develop in this enclosed and relatively small area of greenbelt farming land.
“This area has already been spoiled by the developments off Batley Road and Lindale Lane and we have no new infrastructure to accommodate those developments.”
Another resident said: “It is detrimental to the quality of the environment, further eroding the green corridor for wildlife between Wrenthorpe and Kirkhamgate.”
Objections have been raised over the potential loss of wildlife.
It is also claimed that the access road to the site is too narrow.
Another third objector said: “The traffic at peak times during the day is unbearable as it is, without an additional road being created.
“On top of this, the land in question is part of our greenbelt.
“We have very little remaining in the village and wildlife thrives on this patch of land.
“We already have multiple new-build sites making our village overpopulated, and this is entirely for profit.”
An officer’s report says the plans include converting two agricultural buildings, one of a typical modern barn appearance and the other a former piggery.
It says: “The site visit confirmed that the barn is still in use, for storage of hay and agricultural machinery.
“Internal photos submitted by the applicant demonstrate that the piggery is vacant of sows but does still store farm machinery.”
The report adds: “The proposed conversion works are considered to be sympathetic to the existing appearance of the buildings.”
An application submitted on behalf of the applicant says the properties would “not be an excessive scale” and the barns would remain “largely unchanged”, other than adding windows, doors and external cladding.
A document states: “The most significant change to the site would be the creation of domestic gardens to the east and west of the associated barns.”
Designs for the two-bed properties include an open plan kitchen, dining and living area.
The larger three-bed homes would include installing a mezzanine within the barn to provide a partial first floor.