It was Autumn last year when I first came across the Lindley Moor Project; an ostentatious plan to build a “data centre” on a local green field site. When I say “local”, I mean “right up the road from my house”.
Now before I continue, I feel I should point out that I’m not the kind of person to shout “not on my doorstep”; I genuinely object to any green field development. In this case however, the planned development is genuinely “on my doorstep”.
Now the official consultation for the project was the Thursday just gone. I received an email a couple of days ago from one of my local councillors letting me know that:
The outline Planning Application for the above development has gone through, however, it still has to go to Planning and Highways Committee.
It still feels that there’s very little that can be done to stop this kind of development and that leaves me feeling quite frustrated. Apparently the developers tried to get approval for a similar project on the same land 10 years ago, which would be just about when I moved into the area. At the time, local hero Derek Ibbotson, helped the campaign – as he is doing again.
It doesn’t seem to make sense. There are so manybrown field; sites available that it seems like sheer idiocy to contemplate the destruction of these rare green areas. The council itself has continually highlighted the <em>brown field</em> sites along the Leeds Road corridor and yet these remain a desolate shambles – an eyesore on the community – whilst our ever diminishing verdant green land is taken away by empty business parks.
The key argument for the Lindley Moor project seems to be that of increased jobs in the area. I’d counter this by stating the obvious, any development – data centre or otherwise – in this location is made valuable by its proximity to the M62. Lindley Moor lies almost equidistant between J23 and J24, making it ideal for Leeds or Manchester commuters.
This isn’t making jobs for local people. It’s likely to add to local traffic congestion and may promote workers to travel to the area but it doesn’t create jobs for local people, as the campaign appears to imply. It certainly won’t do anything for the local economy, neighbouring house values will drop and the aesthetic qualities that attract us to the area will no longer be present.
Q. Does Lindley need a Data Centre?
Nearby Copley has one, provided and staffed by HBOS. How many Lindley businesses need a Data Centre? I have recently been working with a data storage/hosting provider, UK based, who use several data centres. It has several throughout the UK and several more internationally. Data Centres do not need to be local to be worthwhile. In fact, if that were the case, a town centre Data Centre would seem more logical, surely?
At this stage I shouldn’t give in. As Cllr. Christine Stanfield has pointed out, the plan still has to go to the Planning and Highways Committee. A colleague pointed out that there is still chance to get someone like Sir Patrick Stewart, first class thespian and Chancellor of the University of Huddersfield, on board. And, there are still people like me, who strongly oppose the plans.
I can’t help feel overwhelmed by the odds. The people making these decisions are the same people who allowed the Thandi brothers to defile Castle Hill; the same people who want to allow the Thandi brothers to build on Castle Hill anyway!
What can we do? For all that we can shout and discuss these things, that is pretty much all we can do. The cynic in me is ready to believe that these decisions have already been made, those of us who want to change the decision find ourselves toothless and without ground to fight.