Anger over housing plans

Councillor Mark Crowther is holding a public meeting for angry residents who wish to oppose a housing development being built off Ackworth Road.
Councillor Mark Crowther is holding a public meeting for angry residents who wish to oppose a housing development being built off Ackworth Road.

OUTRAGED residents and community leaders have vowed to fight proposals for 250 new houses in Pontefract.

Coun Mark Crowther says homeowners are furious that plans for a large housing development on farmland between Ackworth Road and Hardwick Road could soon be submitted by developers Barratt and David Wilson Homes.

Coun Crowther, who represents Pontefract South ward, said he attended a drop-in session held by the developers two weeks ago and will now hold a public meeting for residents to raise their concerns.

He said: “Everyone is up in arms about it, I didn’t speak to a single person in favour of the development. There were so many people I couldn’t get away.

“The feeling is that there are sites for development in Pontefract we support, but this isn’t one of them.

“There’s lots of reasons why people are objecting to these proposals and I will be seeking to give people the opportunity to get their concerns off their chests.”

Coun Crowther said an additional 250 houses would increase traffic congestion at Town End roundabout and a lack of school and hospital facilities would not support a large development.

Resident Paul McCann, 57, – whose house on Maple Avenue looks out onto the farmland – said he strongly objected to the plans.

He said: “I will be objecting as much as possible. I will be supporting any action groups emerging from the meeting and I will certainly be very active in campaigning overall.

“My wife and I have lived here 14 years – these properties are going to mask the view from my house and in my opinion the infrastructure cannot take it.”

Brian Kinsey, 76, who also lives on Maple Avenue, said: “What bothers most people is that it’s bringing a lot of traffic into an area that can’t accommodate it.

“We’re objecting because of the traffic issues, but there are other problems – schools are almost full, the hospital has been hit – Pontefract’s getting bigger and bigger and it’s just crazy.”

A spokesman for Barratt and David Wilson Homes said the company would apply for outline planning permission in the next few weeks for “much needed” housing in Pontefract.

He said issues raised from the drop-in session relating to traffic, congestion, schools and Pontefract Hospital’s recent A&E closure would be considered in further applications.

A spokeswoman for Wakefield Council said: “No application for this site had yet been received but developers interested in large-scale sites are required to carry out a pre-application public consultation prior to submitting a planning application.

“No decision has been taken on the future use of this site, which is a ‘protected area of search’ in the Local Development Framework document.”

The public meeting will be held on February Friday 3 at the Guide Hut at Carleton Park from 7pm.