Residents’ anger over factory ‘monstrosity’ on former pit

Residents of a housing estate in Castleford  are unhappy about 'monstrosity' of a building that overshadows their estate.
Residents of a housing estate in Castleford are unhappy about 'monstrosity' of a building that overshadows their estate.

Residents in Castleford are furious about a new warehouse being built next to their homes that is so large they have even joked that it ‘could be seen from space’.

The huge building is being constructed on Whistler Drive and those behind the scheme say it will bring hundreds of jobs to the site.

The homes are close to the new development.

The homes are close to the new development.

But those living nearby say their homes will be in the shadows of the site, and have hit out at Wakefield Council planners for allowing to go ahead, and the lack of consultation.

Deborah Lill, who has lived on Merefield Way since the houses were built over 17 years ago, said: “It’s a huge monstrosity, it’s humongous.

“For those who live directly behind Xscape it’s taken over the skyline. It’s overshadowing our houses, it’s awful. We were told that signs went up about it but nobody seemed to see anything.

“Even if they put trees in front of it, they are not going to grow big enough to cover it.

It’s overshadowing our houses, it’s awful.

Deborah Lill

“It’s all we can see from our house, you could probably see it from space it’s that’s big.”

But the companies behind the development, who say it could help create 550 jobs, have defended the move, saying they have followed the planning guidelines to the letter.

Ian Dunckley of Tungsten Properties said: “We have complied with he planning regulations and it’s a primary employment site.

“We have done all we can to make it blend in with the area. It looks fairly raw at the moment but once it’s clad and landscaped it will blend in better.

“It will create hundreds of jobs in the locality and it’s next to the motorway so it has great transport links.”

Helen McLoughlin, development director at Waystone, who submitted the plans, added: “Waystone are pleased that this new development will create further jobs on the site of the former Glass Houghton Colliery, and understand that the developers Tungsten Properties and Barwood Capital are constructing the building in accordance with the planning permission granted by Wakefield Council.”

Residents have since met with their local ward councillors, who are supporting them.

But rather than criticising the companies, Coun Tony Wallis says that planning procedures need an overhaul.

“This highlights a concern I have about the planning system, that in some circumstances applicants do not consult with neighbours before submitting planning applications.

“The planning system presumes towards permission being granted.

“It is difficult for officers to refuse an application even if residents object unless there are problems than cannot be overcome by conditions.

“However, getting planning permission does not mean the development must be built.”