Planning can be a hotly debated and contentious subject, and space for development is tight in Spen Valley. There are two "levels" of planning:
1. Planning Policy, which includes the Council's overarching "strategic" plan of what should happen in Spen Valley (as part of Kirklees).
2. Individual planning applications (over 90% of which are approved by the council).
Spen Valley Civic Society is interested mostly in the first sort, but does support or sometimes object to individual developments, depending on their appropriateness and quality. For example we objected to Tesco's plans for a superstore outside Cleckheaton town centre and argued for a central store in proportion to the town. We opposed plans for a drive-thru fast food outlet and shops at Westgate, outside Heckmondwike, arguing that it would kill off trade in the already-struggling shops in Heckmondwike town centre. In 2021-2022 we are objecting to a planning application for 23.6 hectares of green fields to become a gigantic Amazon "fulfilment centre" warehouse on land between the A58 and Whitechapel Road Scholes. If approved, this would become the biggest building in West Yorkshire, operating non-stop 24-7, with attendant lorry & car emissions, light and noise pollution right next to houses and close to the Conservation Area of Scholes village, and two schools.
We contributed to Kirklees Local Plan, adopted by the Council in February 2019. We were successful in rejecting proposals to turn a green hillside near Hartshead (next to the Kirklees Priory Estate) into an enormous warehousing depot. We also argued successfully against building a large housing estate on fields between Roberttown Lane and the A62. Our written and verbal submissions to the Planning Inspector's examination hearings showed depth of local knowledge and a common-sense approach. The Local Plan includes hundreds of new houses in Spen Valley. We will scrutinise planning applications and argue for more school places, doctors and dentists' services, and transport improvements to cater for the increased population.
Separately we persuaded the Council and Tesco to allow much-needed housing to be built on a brownfield site in Cleckheaton, resulting in a Nursing Home, retirement apartments and affordable homes for rent being completed in 2019.
If you have concerns about buildings or derelict sites in Spen Valley, please let us know.