Panel rejects 'disgusting' plan to build homes on Bradford play area

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Local residents who opposed the plan, taken in April this year, with Ansar Miah in the foreground. Local residents who opposed the plan, taken in April this year, with Ansar Miah in the foreground.

ANGRY councillors have thrown out a plan to build homes on a children's play area, with the panel chairman saying it "disgusted" him.

Locals had campaigned against the bid to build a terrace of five houses on the grassed play area, at Grosvenor Road, Manningham, Bradford.

The land is owned by Yorkshire Housing, although the planning application had been lodged by Firebird Homes – a subsidiary of Manningham Housing.

Nigel Guy, managing director of Firebird Homes, told the panel that the play area wasn't being used any more, and was attracting fly-tipping.

He said: "The problem with the play area was that it was causing a lot of anti-social behaviour."

He said Yorkshire Housing had wanted to sell the land on the open market, but that instead Firebird had worked with them to develop a plan for "much-needed affordable homes".

But the Bradford Area Planning Panel was scathing about the application.

Its chairman, Councillor Shabir Hussain, said he remembered play equipment being removed from the site around two years ago.

He said: "I'm a bit disgusted. I'm gobsmacked you are taking these areas away."

Panel member, Councillor Michelle Swallow, said: "It was stipulated to be a play space for the children, then once the equipment gets old and tired, it gets removed rather than being replaced.

"Then it gets fly-tipped, then the owner of the land, rather than clearing the land and bringing it back into use, just leaves it, thinking, 'we can get planning permission'.

"If we did that with our Council play spaces, then we wouldn't have any play spaces for our children."

Councillor Imran Khan said it was no wonder children didn't use the play area, if the equipment had been removed.

He said: "I honestly believe that play equipment has been taken out for a reason. It hasn't been maintained - not by you guys, but by Yorkshire Housing.

"Go back to Yorkshire Housing and tell them to start maintaining it."

No objectors spoke at the meeting.

Afterwards, Mr Guy said the application had been recommended for approval by planning officers.

He said: "I am disappointed, but as a planning panel they have their own judgements to make."

He said people could judge for themselves whether the panel's decision was in the best interests of the residents of the district.

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