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Menston Action Group in new bid to halt village housing plans
A determined village group fighting two major housing estates is preparing to launch the next stage of its battle.
Menston Action Group was left reeling by a decision this month that one area they wanted to save from development, Derry Hill fields, should not be registered as a protected village green.
But members say they have more tricks up their sleeve to stop the estates being built and a war chest ready to fund them.
In February, plans for two housing estates were approved by Bradford Council – one for 175 houses at Derry Hill, by Barratt Homes, and another for 135 houses off Bingley Road by Taylor Wimpey.
But these were delayed as villagers launched their unsuccessful village green appeal.
Residents have donated a total of £55,000 for the legal challenges and this “fighting fund” will now be used to launch a judicial review and, if that fails, a civil injunction against the developers to stop them carrying out works they say would damage the village.
The group argues the fields are unsuitable for housing and could leave the village prone to flooding. They have already spent £20,000 on hiring a flood risk assessor to look at the sites and collect evidence.
Today, a newsletter will be sent out to villagers letting them know of the progress, discussing the two avenues of legal action and asking for further contributions to pay for the challenges.
Both housing projects are currently awaiting the final conditions to be signed off by the Council before building work can go ahead. Once they do, Menston Action Group plans to launch a judicial review.
Dr Steve Ellams, a member of the action group, hopes the Council will recognise the flood risks and reverse the planning approvals. If they do not, he is confident they can legally halt the plans. He said: “The village green appeal came and went and it was very disappointing, but it was a means to an end. We knew it would hold things up while we collected irrefutable evidence the land is not suitable for housing.
“I think we would now win a judicial review. I think they just think we’ll go away, but we won’t.”
John Eyles, Bradford Council’s major developments manager, said: “The legal agreements for these sites are in the final stages of completion and consultation with the agreed community groups will take place shortly.”