Conversation with Karen (who fought the previous plan to change the greenfields to a stadium and sport facilities approx 20 years ago)
Karen used to live at 28 Milton Road which was the family home.
Circa 1994/95 fought against a stadium and sport facilities being built – the Council had plans for Wakefield Wildcats to have a new stadium on the fields behind Airedale Heights, Milton Road and the school.
She had the original plans: they were going to widen Milton Road and buy part of the school. The development was going to go encompass all the fields down to Horbury Road, across to the motorday and up to Queens Drive, Ossett and would include community buildings and amenities. There would be 4 entrances: Dewsbury Road, Horbury Road, Milton Road and Airedale Heights. The little snicket on Airedale Heights, between number 11 and 15 was going to be used as an entrance to a car park. Karen was informed by Denise Jeffries who was head of the planning committee at the time that it would be either the stadium or a housing development, i.e. if stadium was blocked then there would still be housing.
They managed to get the stadium plans stopped but she thinks this was to do with the cost of providing the stadium and all the facilities.
The playing fields are owned by the LEA.
The playing fields have always flooded (but apparently not enough for the Council to do anything) – the flooding is going into houses and gardens.
There used to be a gate at the top of Milton Road – her mum used to have a key for it.
The rugby club was also going to be demolished but at the time there were no objections to this. Her mum did object and received death threats.
Broadway is actually classed as a D road (another name for unclassified) (she does not think the Council have re-classified it), so it is not suitable to hold high traffic volumes. Some teachers at Snapethorpe Primary don’t even know this. This explains why the road is not gritted or maintained properly.
So far as she knows the trees behind Snapethorpe Gate are protected.
Karen said that we need to find out who is doing the planning. In the original proposals it was Spofforth but Karen said they were not independent.
Re using Snapethorpe Gate as an entrance they would have to take down houses at the top as well as the family centre to widen the road (currently not suitable). The family centre has a disabled parking space (at the front) and are legally required to have railings at the front to stop kids running out into the road.
Only two parts of Broadway resurfaced as Council ran out of money.
Re playing fields Martin asked why not open these up to the school children? Karen agreed but said that Council in their original plan were going to cut the playing fields down the middle to St Georges (to be used as parking). She couldn’t find anything regarding restrictive covenants that said the playing fields had to be used as playing fields. They fought the original plan on the principle of children’s health i.e. the need for children to play/have PE lessons as well as child safety.
She thinks it unlikely that the trees on Milton Road will get TPOs (wrong kind of tree). If they do get TPOs then Snapethorpe Gate will be the most likely entrance into the new development. Horbury Road is not feasible as an entrance as development does not go down that far.
She also said that Wakefield Express were very supportive when she was fighting the original plan.
Worth fighting on issue of endangered animals/plants e.g. foxes, partridges, fauna, bats.
She advised going round Broadway with petition – residents would be affected by increased traffic.
She also said there could not be speed bumps in on Broadway (to slow down traffic) because of the shape of the road (the brow of the hill by Snapethorpe Gate). Reiterated Snapethorpe Gate would be unsuitable as an access road especially in winter as it can’t be gritted.
Karen said that they got as far as the planning permission stage and managed to get 800 people at first meeting (she went round people’s houses knocking on doors and actually speaking to them).
She said that they did not have an independent inspector. Spofforth was not independent, he was responsible for the plan but also on the planning committee, i.e. he was responsible for approving his own plans. Karen accused Spofforth of not being independent.
Apparently Snapethorpe Gate was gifted to the people of Lupset but the Council sold it for 1p. There were supposed to be amenities for the community, pharmacy, shops, playground but this has never happened.
Might be worth getting a solicitor against Council re property which was bought for the view. Also right to light and right to privacy. We know that you cannot fight for loss of view but you can for the right to light and privacy.
Karen also said they had the support of the police. Central Policing Team said they did not have enough resources to police the new development.
Broadway has always been a bad road for accidents and consequently Karen petitioned the Council and got the islands and speed cameras put in. However, these do not seem to have made a difference as there are still loads of accidents. In fact Karen rang on 28th June to say that a boy had been knocked off his bike on the way to school by Aysgarth Drive.
She also raised the possibility of increased risk to health because of increased traffic and said there are not enough trees on Broadway (to absorb the carbon emissions). She advised us to check with the GP re asthma rates as these had gone up specifically in this area. There have also been quite a few people who have had cancer on Broadway.
She advised contacting Wakefield Express for archive files re stadium development as they reported on this.
Karen said that from her years of experience of dealing with the council that you should not trust them and that their behaviour was underhand.
Karen illustrates what can be done if an effort is made by a large group of residents as they managed to get the stadium development stopped as well as all the traffic measures introduced on Broadway.
Our thanks go to Karen for providing us with this valuable information.