Villagers’ rage at homes plan

w3879a049 Parish councillor Keith Wainwright objecting to new housing near St James School Crigglestone.
w3879a049 Parish councillor Keith Wainwright objecting to new housing near St James School Crigglestone.

VILLAGERS fighting developers’ plans to build hundreds of homes next to a primary school claim the proposals could destroy their community.

More than 140 people attended a public meeting last Thursday night to voice serious concerns about Taylor Wimpey’s application to build 208 houses and 36 flats on land off Durkar Lane.

It was called by Crigglestone Parish Council and Durkar and Crigglestone Residents Association which also argued existing problems with traffic congestion and air pollution would also be made worse.

John Peebles, chairman of the parish council, said: “It’s a very bad site altogether. There’s only one way in and one way out. There’s no other way to the site than past the school.

“Wakefield Council’s planning department should turn this down on this alone – it’s absolutely ridiculous.”

John Seacome, who has been advising the residents association, told people the site was not even earmarked for housing under the council’s housing strategy.

The majority of Crigglestone and Durkar are covered by an Air Quality Management Zone imposed by Defra to monitor the high levels of pollution.

Coun Paul Crompton said: “From the figures that we got the level of pollution is well above the maximum permitted safe levels already.”

“It would be difficult to come up with a site that would be less suitable for this development in Wakefield.”

Concerns were also raised about gas problems and methane seepage from the greenfield site.

Coun Keith Wainwright said: “We know there has been mining in that area since the early 1800s.

“It’s a major fault line and it’s got a displacement of about 90 feet – it does displace the land quite a bit.”

District councillor John Colley warned the development could pave the way for more building if it is approved.

He said: “They’re only building on half the field – they could start building on the rest of it.”

He told people there could be room for an additional 200 homes on the site.

Other objections raised included inadequate public transport, extra burden on schools and health care facilities, an already incapable drainage system, poor shopping facilities.

Residents also said three-storey homes would look out of character.