An application to re-route a historic bridleway in West Yorkshire has been approved despite protests from local riders, residents and walkers.

Kirklees Council in Huddersfield has approved an application from Younger Homes to build new houses on the site in Holmfirth, which is crossed by the 240-year-old Berry Banks Bridleway.

Younger Homes want to close a section of the bridleway and create a new 160m route with staggered barriers to protect horses from passing traffic as well as 1.5m barrier to screen riders from a steep vertical drop.

The planned diversion has angered many locals, who have enjoyed the bridleway for many years. Holme Valley Civic Society secretary Clifford Lord said he objected on historical grounds.

“Although it is only a short diversion, I don’t think permission to alter the bridleway should have been given. It is an old road that has been used for centuries going as far back as Roman times.

“Horse riders will find the new route particularly difficult to use as it involves a very steep incline with a sharp drop on one side.

“I understand that the building company wanted the path moved so they can build as many houses as possible, but I feel very sad that permission has been given to altera path which goes back hundreds of years.”

Jeni Gilbert, a BHS access and bridleway officer for West Yorkshire, says: “Sadly, this situation is a case of too little too late. I have been involved in campaigning against the proposed new route for the bridleway since it all began. However, it needed people’s support before it got to the stage where planning permission for the new housing development was granted.”

“Just because the council has passed the order it doesn’t necessarily mean that the bridleway will be re-routed. If enough objections are raised then it will be opened to a public enquiry and as they say it isn’t over till the fat lady sings!”

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