Letter - Planners ‘are being led by land owners’

I too noted Denise Jeffery’s comment in the Wakefield Express of 13/12/13 (housing column) that WMDC is working with ‘partners’ in the economic development of the district.

I too have serious concerns about the way planning is still being led by land owners and developers rather than driven by the needs of local community and neighbourhood groups, as required under the NPPF and the Localism Act (and mentioned in a letter published on 27/12/13).

In many cases residents are not even informed about the implications of planning proposals which could severely disrupt their lives for months on end. A case in point is the need for a new sewage system to remove waste from the housing in the development at Durkar.

Apparently Durkar Lane will be closed from Ashwood Grange to and including the junction with Howard Crescent from February to April 2014 to allow tunnelling and ‘jack piping’ operations. A further section on the bend at the bottom of Durkar Lane/Denby Dale Road East will require a further full road closure, scheduled for April/May 2014; then from May/Aug 2014 temporary traffic lights will be in place before final completion. This is on top of the current works along Denby Dale which are already causing severe disruption (and additional air pollution from standing traffic in an already polluted area I might add).

The alterations were never mentioned at the original planning committee meeting. In fact local neighbourhood groups were led to believe that all housing developments included in the Local Development Framework had undergone a thorough technical assessment to ensure that no alterations to the existing infrastructure would be required. Members of the planning committee apparently cast their votes with this in mind.

Local neighbourhood groups were also told that the housing was required to satisfy the future needs of residents in the Wakefield District yet we now find that the houses are being advertised as suitable for the needs of workers in Leeds, adding yet more traffic to the already overcrowded and polluting M1 motorway running alongside the site.

To add insult to injury, we find that Taylor Wimpy, the developers, landowners and Denise Jeffery’s ‘partners’, may not have the funds to pay for this work until the first phase of housing stock is sold. This would necessitate temporary storage tanks close to the local primary school and the removal of waste by tankers – a situation even WMDC officers find unacceptable.

So, who is going to pick up the bill for this latest example of crass incompetence? Will Taylor Wimpey pay for the additional mileage costs incurred by motorists trying to avoid Durkar Lane, or the taxis for the elderly people who will be unable to use buses? I doubt it.

James M Donlon

Durkar Low Lane