Eighty-four people objected to Kirklees Council selling off a plot of land in Almondbury for housing but senior councillors said the decision had already been made.
The council’s Cabinet had previously agreed to sell the site in Fenay Lane but the 1972 Local Government Act requires local authorities which sell off ‘open space’ land to publish a notice and allow people to object.
Forty-nine objections were received – signed by 84 people – and that meant the issue had to go back to Cabinet.
A council report said that most of the objections related to the principle of building houses on the land and that had already been decided as part of the Local Plan in 2019.
Residents described the site as “beautiful, safe and very well used” saying it was popular with local people and was a haven for wildlife including bats, badgers and deer.
There were also concerns about the flood risk and whether that had been adequately assessed as part of the Local Plan, and also concerns about increased traffic.
Clr Alison Munro (Lib Dem, Almondbury) told the Cabinet meeting that there were inconsistencies and questions to answer over the flood risk and traffic and said she felt the decision by Cabinet was a “foregone conclusion.”
She added: “Whilst this land is allocated in the Local Plan people have genuine concerns and should not be ignored.”
The council says the land could deliver around 160 new homes – including ‘affordable’ homes – and was identified in the council’s housing growth strategy, which was approved by Cabinet in November last year.
Clr Graham Turner (front right) on a council housing site in Batley
Clr Graham Turner, Cabinet member for finance and regeneration, said: “Across Kirklees, we’re aiming to create well over 2,000 new homes by 2030.
“Part of achieving this goal is strategically selling portions of land to trusted developers who can bring this to fruition, without ongoing financial input from us as a council.
“Throughout these decisions, we always work on the basis that our development partners should share our values and have the best interests of local people and communities at heart.
“By working with trusted partners and utilising our own land, we can ensure that the right mix of housing is delivered to meet the needs of our residents.
“This new development should bring around 160 new quality homes to the beautiful village of Almondbury – piece by piece helping us address the current shortage of housing, not just locally but nationally.”
Council leader Cathy Scott said all the residents’ objections would be dealt with during the planning process.