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Flooding at centre of concerns
Members of a Bradford Council committee have disagreed with officers over a planning appeal and insisted that flooding concerns remain part of the authority’s case when the matter goes before a public inquiry.
Harron Homes wants to build a housing estate on a field off Crack Lane, Wilsden, but the Council refused its bid for 73 houses there last year. Shortly before Christmas the company lodged an appeal against that decision and last week it was revealed that it has submitted a second planning application for 82 houses on the same site.
The authority’s regulatory and appeals committee yesterday discussed officers’ concerns that one of the main reasons for originally refusing the plans – that the development could cause a risk of surface water flooding – should be dropped from their case.
When Shipley Planning Panel refused the plans in April last year, councillors gave three reasons – flooding, sustainability and loss of parking.
Yesterday officers asked for the flooding reason not to be mentioned in the appeal, because it could prove costly were the Council to lose, particularly as both the Environment Agency and Yorkshire Water had not objected. If successful, Harron could claim costs from the authority, including the costs of proving flooding was not a risk.
But members of the committee voted four to one in favour of keeping the flooding issue alive.
Councillor Mike Ellis (Con, Bingley Rural) said he still had concerns about flooding if the site were to be developed and that they needed confirmation in writing from Yorkshire Water that it no longer had an issue with the plans. He complained that the report from officers was incomplete and contained “smoke and mirrors”.
“I am quite happy that the decision made by the Shipley Panel was correct and I intend to move that we progress with this on the basis of all three reasons for refusal,” he said.
However, Councillor Imran Khan (Lab, Bowling and Barkerend) disagreed, saying they should be heeding officers when they say they cannot put up a robust defence of the flooding issue, and that they “would get hammered” on it at appeal.
It also emerged at the committee meeting that a date had been set for the public inquiry of April 9.