Re-styled plans for an estate near Bingley just submitted to Bradford planners as a new application have been labelled a “waste of time and taxpayers’ money,” by campaigners.
While Bellway and Redrow Homes are locked in a High Court battle with Communities Secretary Eric Pickles over their original plan for the site at Sty Lane, Micklethwaite, they have now put in the tweaked application to be considered in tandem.
The first plan for 440 homes was rejected by Bradford Council, a government planning inspector and Mr Pickles. A major stumbling block was that emergency access relied on a single way into the site via an unpredictable swing bridge across the Leeds-Liverpool Canal.
But while continuing to challenge that rejection, Bellway and Redrow this week have now put forward a new plan where the bridge is replaced with a purpose-built two-lane bridge and electric bollards which are instantly controllable by CCTV.
The alternative access for emergency services to the site would be available via Oakwood Drive at the junction with Lady Lane.
Explaining the system on behalf of Bellway and Redrow, highways consultant Alison France, of Sanderson Associates said: “If the swing bridge is not operational or cannot be reset within three minutes, then Bradford Council’s Urban Traffic Control Unit in the city centre will be able to monitor that on CCTV and lower the electric bollards at Oakwood Drive to give access.
“It would be more or less instantaneous,” she said.
But after studying the new application, Terry Brown, chairman of the Greenhill Action Group said it seemed a potentially pointless exercise which could waste Bradford Council’s time and taxpayers’ cash.
“From what I can see, there is an outline application for a two-lane bridge with very little detail and the big change is the bollards and emergency access to try and satisfy the Secretary of State’s concerns regarding the first application,” Mr Brown said.
“What confuses me is how can the council accept an application when there is an appeal outstanding.
“At a stroke, the High Court judge could find against the Secretary of State and then the whole thing could be up in the air again.
“We could be back to square one on that application. Meantime the Council will have wasted time and local taxpayers’ money on dealing with this so-called new application.”
Bingley ward Conservative Councillor David Heseltine also believes the new application is an unnecessary diversion.
“They cannot get away from the fact the roads involved in this site are just too narrow,” he said.