Batley & Spen MP Jo Cox is urging Kirklees Council to take on board all the views of her constituents when taking forward the district’s Local Plan.
In her submission to the council’s consultation, Mrs Cox welcomes the Local Plan and its aim to create the jobs and homes that the district will need over the coming 15 years.
But she says councillors and officers must give serious thought to the points that have been raised by constituents and by groups such as Spen Valley Civic Society, which has made a detailed submission.
Mrs Cox said: “It is important that Kirklees takes the opportunity to accommodate the demand for future jobs and homes, and protect the borough from a planning free-for-all, which would be an undesirable alternative.
“The council must endeavour to do this while preserving the things that make Kirklees, and Batley & Spen in particular, desirable places to live in the first place. It can only do that by listening to local residents.”
The Labour MP said the correspondence she had received had been constructive and fair minded and showed constituents were concerned about how the Local Plan might affect their town, village or street.
“What comes across in these letters and emails is that local people care deeply about their area and have knowledge and perspective which the council must be careful not to ignore during this process.
“We should be careful to conserve and protect the strong identities our towns and villages have, but without fear of growing and enhancing what makes them so special.”
Batley & Spen MP Jo Cox has welcomed the decision by Kirklees cabinet to extend the public consultation into the Local Plan into the new year.
The Local Plan is the new development plan being produced for Kirklees. This involves working out how many new homes and jobs are needed in the future and for allocating land to meet these needs. When the Local Plan is agreed and in place, planning will be judged against what it says.
Comments will now be accepted until 1 February 2016, rather than the previously agreed date of 21 December 2015.
Jo Cox MP said:
“It’s fantastic that the council has had such a huge response. I am told that in the main these are very sensible, constructive comments. This echoes my own experiences; I am really impressed by the quality of letters and emails I get from constituents about the plan. I hope that continues.”
“I think over the last six months public opinion towards our council has changed and matured. People are by now well aware of the stresses the council faces in terms of budgets and the inevitable impact this will have on services. In that context it is absolutely vital to formulate a plan which makes the best of future development, promotes growth and jobs, offers affordable, good housing and also protects sites of importance or significance. The overall housing numbers are dictated to by the government but the council does have some powers to protect certain areas and prioritise others.”
“It is crucial that people contribute to the discussion and get involved. It only takes ten minutes to post your view on decisions which will impact us all for decades to come.”
“If residents of Batley & Spen would also like to forward me on their views I will be delighted to receive them, but it is crucial that people use the official channels too, so that their voice can be heard by the decision makers in Kirklees.”
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