Provisional approval for controversial homes in Pontefract village
Controversial plans to build homes in front of a treasured village church have been given provisional approval.
People living in East Hardwick have been fighting the prospect of four homes being built on a patch of land, believing it would obscure the view of their beloved St Stephen’s Church.
The building is of significant local interest and dates back to the 1870s, when it was put up in place of a demolished chapel.
A panel of Wakefield councillors voted to approve the homes plan on Thursday, though the final decision is likely to be made by the government’s Planning Inspectorate.
Objecting to the plans, church council representative Tony Hames said: “We are objecting as the proposal would have a massive impact on the views from the church and to the church.
“People already struggle to find the church when they come for weddings and funerals. If you put any more buildings or obstructions in front of it, you’re just making it more difficult.
Suggesting that the proposed homes are not in keeping with the rest of the village, he added: “Approving this could set a dangerous precedent for similar development across the Wakefield.”
But speaking on behalf of the applicants, Chris Carver told councillors that the development would be of “high quality”.
He said: “There is simply no reasonable case to indicate overdevelopment on the site. “It would sit quite comfortably within the area.
“We maintain our position that throughout the course of the application, we’ve addressed comments made by planning officers and neighbouring residents.
“This includes changing the application a number of times.”
A total of six councillors voted in favour of approval of the scheme, with one member abstaining.