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Greenhill action group writes to Council over reversal of fields’ development status
Bradford Council has been urged to reverse the status of a green field site allocated for housing in Bingley to end once and for all a long and costly battle between residents and developers.
In June, plans for the construction of 420 houses off Sty Lane, Micklethwaite, were dismissed by the Secretary of State for Communities Eric Pickles, having previously been refused by Bradford Council and a planning inspector.
Campaigners had argued the new housing estate, by Belway and Redrow Homes, would not only destroy fields between Crossflats and Micklethwaite, but also cause traffic problems due to narrow roads and a single-track bridge across the Leeds and Liverpool Canal.
That victory was short lived, as in October the two companies submitted a re-worked application for 440 houses they said dealt with the issues for refusal.
The Greenhill Action Group (GAG), which is battling to stop the development, believes that because Bradford Council has allocated the site as suitable for housing, developers will continue to try to build on it.
It has now sent a letter to representatives of the Council, including chief executive Tony Reeves and Council leader David Green, urging them to re-assign the land as a no go area for developers.
The letter states: “It appears to us that the only organisations that felt the original application should have gone ahead were the developers and CBMDC Department of Regeneration and Culture’s major development team.
“This has inevitably cost CBMDC thousands of pounds of public money in officer time and valuable resources.
The letter adds: “We ask that the Council’s planning department be required to not encourage and recommend for approval any further proposals on this site. Your help on the matter will be appreciated by thousands of local citizens now and in the future.”
Shipley MP Philip Davies has also objected to the Sty Lane plans and is backing GAG’s call.
Bellway Homes recently responded to his protests that it was continuing to pursue developing the site, saying: “The site has been earmarked for housing since 1998. The planning officer have consistently backed us and Redrow Homes in pursuing planning consent for this site and we believe we have their full backing for this current application.”
Mr Davies said: “The Council should take this land off its housing list.
“The Government has scrapped all housing targets and so it is up to the Council to develop its own plans of where houses should be built. I have written to the chief executive myself and asked him to remove this land from the list of suitable housing sites.
“It is an absolute disgrace if planning officers are encouraging developers despite what councillors and local residents are saying.”
Val Slater, Bradford’s executive member for housing, said she had received a copy of GAG’s letter but said it was a difficult situation.
“They want the Council to refuse to accept any more applications for that land but legally we are not allowed to do that. It is an expensive process but all we can do is look at each application as it comes in.”
l GAG will hold a public meeting at Bingley Methodist Church in Herbert Street next Monday from 7.45pm to discuss the latest application.
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