No decision on homes

Residents in Ackworth are up in arms over the closure of the Our Lady of Lourdes church and the plans submitted to the council detailing proposals to build 11 homes on the land. They want the church to be turned into a community centre.
Residents in Ackworth are up in arms over the closure of the Our Lady of Lourdes church and the plans submitted to the council detailing proposals to build 11 homes on the land. They want the church to be turned into a community centre.
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PLANNING chiefs have deferred making a decision on a scheme to build houses on the site of a former Catholic church in Ackworth.

Members of Wakefield Council’s planning committee said they could not make a decision on the Diocese of Leeds’ proposal for 11 homes on the Our Lady of Lourdes church site on Barnsley Road until they knew what type of properties were planned.

Campaigners in the village have gathered 300 signatures in support of keeping the former church, which closed in 2008, as a community centre.

Residents are also concerned about the safety of the proposal to build houses on the site and the fact that the development would overlook their homes.

Coun Ronald Halliday told the meeting last week: “I am disappointed that bungalows are not being considered. It might be a small area but it is an attractive little area and I can’t help thinking anything other than a couple of bungalows would look right, and that’s why I can’t support any of the plan.”

William Mulvany, from planning consultants Sanderson Weatherall, said: “People do not build bungalows at this time, we are not saying we won’t build bungalows, but it is yet to be decided.”

Petition organiser Pat Hughes, 71, told the Express after the meeting: “We have either a stay of execution or a bit of good news. Anything else but bungalows in that area would look out of place.”

Mr Hughes said residents were concerned about the increase in traffic that new houses would bring to the Barnsley Road and Doncaster Road roundabout.

He added: “The main bone of contention is that it is so near the roundabout. They did not address the issue that all the HGVs use the Barnsley Road.

“All the cars the new houses would bring in on that little roundabout is the critical thing about this whole planning application. It is a tragedy waiting to happen.”