Residents find unique and creative way to protest against plan to build 156 Wakefield District Housing homes

Residents trying to fend off plans to build more than 150 homes on their doorstep have found a unique and creative way to make their voices heard.

Wednesday, 19th August 2020, 1:24 pm
Updated Wednesday, 19th August 2020, 1:30 pm

Every Wednesday at 6pm, motorists are legally parking their cars along Pope Street in Altofts, disrupting traffic flow on the narrow road as a result.

The drivers say the "chaos" mimics the permanent effect building the homes will have on their village.

Wakefield District Housing (WDH) are behind the application, which would see a total of 156 properties built off Pope Street, alongside parking space for almost 400 cars.

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Dozens of objections have already been submitted against the scheme.

Angry locals, who say Altofts' infrastructure will struggle to cope with the influx of new people, thought they'd seen the last of the scheme when a similar plan was withdrawn last year.

Dozens of objections have already been registered on the council's planning portal, since the new application was put in last month.

Neighbours Charlotte Broomhead and Ken Stokes, who've been leading the group behind the protests, say the weekly demonstrations offer a glimpse of what could happen to the area.

Miss Broomhead said: "The traffic down here is horrendous as it is. If 150 more homes are built it’s going to be nigh on impossible to get in and out.

The protests, which have taken place every Wednesday evening, have caused disruption to traffic along the road. Residents say it demonstrates what daily life will be like if the homes are built. Picture courtesy of Charlotte Broomhead.

"Since we started the protests, some weeks we’ve had 10 cars turn up, others it’s been 20 or 30 and it only takes a small number to cause problems.

"We just hope that anyone who sees this can see the chaos it causes, and they realise this is what daily life will be like on Pope Street if these houses are built."

Another objector to the scheme wrote on the online planning portal: "The increase in traffic in Altofts is already a nightmare.

"The roads are becoming dangerous to drive on and the amount of heavy plant and HGVs that travel up and down has also increased.

WDH said the homes were "much-needed" and that it would pay a community infrastructure levy to help local facilities cope.

"The schools are already overflowing without increasing the population in this area."

If built, the homes will comprise 38 two bed homes, 99 three-bed homes and 19 four-bed homes.

WDH said that the construction site would have two entrances in a bid to reduce traffic.

In response to the concerns raised, WDH's executive director of investment, Sue Young, said: "We are committed to providing much needed homes in and around Wakefield and this proposal aims to provide 156 of these for people in the district, 46 of these will be affordable homes available for rent or sale with Shared Ownership.

"This proposal is a resubmission of a planning application for land, at Pope Street in Altofts, that we previously withdrew to enable us to review and include some of the feedback gathered from various parties as a result of the original public consultation which was held on May 17 2019.

"This consultation and a further presentation to the town council last year were well attended and residents gave lots of useful feedback which we have used to inform this revised proposal.

"The farm that currently occupies the land is being relocated so there will no longer be farm traffic travelling through the village at peak times, causing disruption.

"As part of the development plans, we pay a community infrastructure levy per property which helps with school places and to support the local infrastructure."

Local Democracy Reporting Service