Officers recommend go-ahead for controversial 400 homes development in face of continued protests (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Officers recommend go-ahead for controversial 400 homes development in face of continued protests
10:32pm Thursday 12th June 2014 in News
Campaigners are determined to continue their battle against plans to build more than 400 homes in fields off Sty Lane, Micklethwaite
Campaigners trying to prevent fields near Bingley being torn up and replaced by more than 400 homes remain convinced of the unsuitability of the proposals - despite Council planners recommending the controversial development gets the go ahead.
Attempts to construct the new housing estate at Sty Lane, Micklethwaite, have been in the planning system for five years, with Bradford Council, Government planning inspectors and even Communities Secretary Eric Pickles dismissing the previous bids by the applicants Bellway and Redrow Homes.
But a revised version of the plans were submitted to the Council earlier this year - this one for between 420 and 440 homes.
The site has previously been allocated as suitable for housing by the Council and next Thursday the Council's Regulatory and Appeals Committee will meet at Bingley Arts Centre to rule on the officers' recommendation.
Bellway Homes has previously stated its confidence that its plans for the site, which has been earmarked for housing since 1998, will be approved.
But protesters in the Greenhill Action Group still believe the decision will go in their favour.
Among their objections are that roads would be unable to cope with the extra traffic, and that a two lane bridge over the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, part of the latest proposal, still did not address traffic concerns that led a previous application to be refused at Government level.
After hearing that the plans campaigners have fought tooth and nail against for years were recommended for approval, a spokesman for GAG said last night: "The main focus is on winning this hearing and common sense dictates we should – none of the highways issues have been addressed, emergency access arrangements are not robust and the replacement swing bridge is substandard.
"We’ve also been busy measuring traffic volumes and have counted more than 74,000 vehicles - we’ve got some solid facts to show how unsafe this application is.
"As long as these facts are clearly presented to panel, the decision should still be in our favour but we’ve clearly got a fight on or hands."
The group has also criticised the Council for the timing of the next week's meeting - which takes place only three days after the deadline expires for public comments on the application, when they had expected the decision to be made next month.
The group says that at least 200 objections have been made since the planning report was written.
The spokesman added: "This hearing will be quite unusual and potentially controversial too as more than 200 objections with some quite complex points might need to be presented separately to the panel."
The report to the committee states the recommendation for approval is conditional on more than 50 conditions being met, including numerous financial contributions by the developers to improve local roads, schools and playing fields.
By doing so, the officers say it would be "an appropriate development of the site that gives the opportunity to provide a sustainable pattern of development at the edge of the urban fabric of the Airedale Corridor".
But that argument has not swayed ward Councillor David Heseltine who also plans to speak against the plans at Thursday's meeting.
"Everyone has said no to this application so far. In this latest application they have only tinkered with a few details," said Cllr Heseltine (Con, Bingley).
"One of the issues is it will merge Micklethwaite and Crossflatts into this new agglomeration. It will totally change the character of two separate villages. It will just make the traffic around Bingley even worse, and if we keep choking this valley then businesses will move elsewhere.
"I will be at the meeting trying to get members to refuse this again."
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