Fears over plan for 90 homes on former Keighley village school site

Fears over plan for 90 homes on former Keighley village school site

PROTEST: Councillor Adrian Farley stands at the site of the former Bronte Middle School in Bogthorn

PROTEST: Councillor Adrian Farley stands at the site of the former Bronte Middle School in Bogthorn

PROTEST: Councillor Adrian Farley stands at the site of the former Bronte Middle School in Bogthorn

PROTEST: Councillor Adrian Farley stands at the site of the former Bronte Middle School in Bogthorn

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FEARS have been voiced that a Keighley community's infrastructure will be unable to cope with a planned 90 home development.

Anxious councillors reacted after Bradford Council revealed the scheme was earmarked for the long-derelict former Bronte Middle School site, in Keighley Road, Bogthorn.

About half the homes will be affordable properties for rent or sale, and the remainder supported – or 'extra care' – apartments for the elderly.

The scheme is among several planned across the Bradford district - thanks to grants totalling £12 million.

Also included in the 500 affordable homes proposed for brownfield land district-wide are 37 at Braithwaite Road, Keighley.

The Bronte site has been vacant since 2000, following the abolition of middle schools.

Councillor Brian Morris (UKIP), whose Keighley West ward includes the site, agreed more affordable housing was needed.

But he said: "We also need the infrastructure to support it. For example no local primary schools would be able to take more children as they are full, the roads are over capacity already and building on this site will surely add to flood risks as the area is full of streams.

"Unfortunately I am sure the district council will run this through like a steam train regardless of any objections or concerns raised by residents.

"I can see only one positive in this – they will be building on a brownfield site for a change."

Councillor Adrian Farley (Lab, Keighley West) said there were several positive aspects to the scheme, but he also had concerns about the potential impact on local infrastructure.

"We do have a housing crisis in the district and everybody has a right to live in decent-quality affordable accommodation," he said.

"Also this site has become something of an eyesore and needs to be brought back into use. I am pleased these houses are being proposed on brownfield land.

"However 90 homes would bring a lot of people into the area and that would put more pressure on local primary schools and other services such as GPs.

"I have arranged to visit affordable housing schemes already operating in other parts of the district to gauge what they are like."

Keighley Town Mayor, Councillor Graham Mitchell said he shared the concerns.

"I would like to see more detail about this proposal before commenting but what I would say is that our primary schools are already overcrowded and any housing plan has got to take the infrastructure into consideration," he said.

Councillor Jan Smithies (Lab, Keighley West) said detailed plans had not yet been drawn-up.

But she added: "I am pleased to see the inclusion of 45 extra care apartments for older people, as I know this is a key housing need."

The funding for the housing district-wide, including £7 million for social housing provider Incommunities and £5 million for Bradford Council, has been announced by the Homes and Communities Agency as part of its Affordable Homes Programme.

Bradford Council will build 241 homes with its share of the money, while Incommunities will construct 264.

The properties being built by the Council have been earmarked for sites in six wards over the next three years.

There will be a mixture of one, two and three-bedroomed homes, as well as the extra care properties.

Meanwhile, the new homes being built by Incommunities will cover 24 locations and involve the regeneration of former housing sites.

Geraldine Howley, Incommunities' group chief executive, said: “This approval for our latest new build programme by the Homes and Communities Agency is terrific news.

“To date we have delivered more than 500 new homes, many for social rent."

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