Farnley Country Park - Myths and Facts

Farnley Country Park - the facts behind the headlines

[Click here to view the article that featured in The Huddersfield Examiner on Saturday 27 June 2015

The proposal for Farnley Country Park, which would give more people access to the vast area of green space in south Huddersfield and potentially boost tourism in the area, has really captured the attention of local people.

Farnley Estates, which owns the land and is behind the idea, invited people to register their vote online at www.peopleforthepark.co.uk, and leave their comments and opinions. While the vast majority of respondents are in favour of the idea, the need to fund the Park by releasing green belt for housing has understandably caused concern.

“The most important part of this process is finding out what the people of Huddersfield really think about the proposal, and if they actually want a Country Park. I’d like to thank everyone who has taken the time to vote and share their views – both for and against the idea,” said Paul Sykes, Farnley Estates Director.

“We recognise that this is potentially a huge change for Huddersfield and everyone’s view, whether we agree or not, is very valid. We’ve also been asked a number of questions, primarily around the housing issue, which we’ve done our best to address in the frequently asked questions section of the website. From the comments we’ve received and seen on social media however, there are a few misunderstandings and issues that we’d like to address, and hopefully give more or an insight into why we’re doing this,” added Paul.

 

It’s all a scam to build houses on green belt land!

In truth, if we wanted to put our land forward to be considered for housing, we could do this without publicising the fact and without promising a country park – as many other Huddersfield land owners have done.

Our motivation is to create a legacy for Huddersfield in the form of Farnley Country Park. Selling land within the fringe of the proposed park for housing, gives us the financial means to do this.

Really what we’re saying is if, as the Council has stated, it has to build on green belt then build on some of our land and get a country park out of it!  

You’ll concrete over the countryside by tomorrow.

First of all, we’re looking at this as a 25-year plan and the Council’s Local Plan is a 20-year plan. Not everything, including the housing, will or can happen immediately. It will be a phased process and will no doubt evolve over time.

Secondly, the attraction of the proposed Farnley Country Park is giving people access to the stunning countryside in this part of the world. We have no intention of destroying the very thing we want people to visit.

Yes, we do want to bring more people on to the land, but in a managed, controlled way that will still allow farming and conservation work to continue. Facilities will be in keeping with the countryside and environmentally sustainable in design. We’ve also made a commitment to Micky Dyson, Senior Lecturer in Mental Health Nursing at the University of Huddersfield that we, and any partners, will ensure that signage and infrastructure is dementia-friendly in design.

 

You’re planning to cut down woodland and destroy historic buildings.

Since 2000, we’ve spent tens of thousands of pounds planting in excess of 75,000 trees and actually creating two new areas of woodland. While, in the future, we hope to provide some form of aerial adventure in a suitable woodland location we will not destroy any woodland.

With regard to buildings, we have no intention of destroying historic buildings, quite the opposite. We’re looking at the possibility of resurrecting the old steam-driven mill – a site of real historical significance – and even the old brewery. It would be something if we could brew Farnley beer made from barley grown in our fields!

You’re running down the farms and have already cut the number of farmers from 32 to just two.

The harsh reality is that farming is not financially sustainable on the Estate. Ten years ago, most of the tenant farms were dairy farms, now we have no dairy farms on the Estate as the farmers couldn’t make a living. As our tenant farmers have retired or sadly died with no heirs, or none willing, to continue farming, we’ve taken the land back in hand and farmed the land as the ‘home farm’.

The main reason for wanting to create Farnley Country Park is that in the future, Farnley Estates will not be large enough to compete commercially as a farm. We will, however, continue with the home farm, providing animal feed and other crops that could potentially be used for products that are sold in the Country Park. There is also the opportunity to partner with agricultural colleges so that Farnley Country Park becomes a centre of excellence for training the next generation of farmers.

You’ll charge us to walk on land that we can freely access.

This will be a country park without walls. We will not charge people to enter Farnley Country Park. There will, however, be better footpaths, giving access for people in wheelchairs and with prams, as well as routes for cycling and riding. There are also large areas of Farnley Estates’ land that are currently private, and we plan to open this up, giving more people greater access.

People would only pay for commercial activities, such as aerial adventure courses, camping and glamping, and bike hire, for example. The aim is to attract people to the area and give them a reason to stay, which will bring economic benefits to Huddersfield.

If you have any more questions, or to register your vote, please visit www.peopleforthepark.co.uk or email info@farnleyestates.co.uk.