Controversy over plans to axe trees for 22 new homes off Wakefield Road in Pontefract

Twenty two new houses could be built on a green space in Pontefract.

Tuesday, 14th July 2020, 5:47 pm
Updated Tuesday, 14th July 2020, 5:51 pm

Developers have asked for planning permission to build a cluster of homes on a vacant plot of land stretching onto Priory Wood, off the edge of Wakefield Road in the town.

A similar scheme was given the go-ahead in 2014, but it was never built and the permission has now expired.

But local councillors have objected to the new plans, claiming the site is unsuitable for new housing.

Top: A view of the proposed site from Mill Hill Road in Pontefract. Beneath is a view of the land from Wakefield Road.

The proposal would involve cutting down a number of mature trees on Priory Wood to make space for the homes, even though they are all subject to tree protection orders (TPOs).

Labour councillor Celia Loughran, who represents the Pontefract South ward, said the plan raised environmental and congestion issues for the area.

She said: "We're very much aware of the need for new housing and if this was a development with a lot of new homes, which would make a big positive difference to people in Pontefract, then we might have been able to get behind it.

"But as it is we have a lot of concerns about it.

"We haven’t got too much green coverage in Pontefract so I think it’s really important that we don’t go round and destroy those trees in Priory Wood, especially given the issues we have with climate change.

"It’s a busy area and we want to keep the traffic moving. We don’t want it backing up round there."

The scheme has been recommended for approval, however, by council officers who said in a report that the homes would "not be out of character with the wider area".

The same report says that many of the trees that would have to be axed are of "low quality".

A final decision will be made by councillors on Thursday.

Local Democracy Reporting Service

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