Residents hit out over Oakworth Green Belt planning decision

Oakworth residents (from left) Margo Avill-Lee, Richard Walker and wife Jan Walker

Oakworth residents (from left) Margo Avill-Lee, Richard Walker and wife Jan Walker

First published in News Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Photograph of the Author by , Aire/Worth Valley Reporter

Residents campaigning against a decision permitting a lorry park and storage area on Green Belt beside the famous Railway Children Walk are calling for a different verdict from Communities Secretary Eric Pickles.

Industrial fabrics maker Linear Composites applied for planning permission to turn part of its site at Vale Mill, Mytholmes Lane, Oakworth, near Keighley, into a storage area and space where lorries could park and manoeuvre.

The company said the changes would make it easier for lorries to deliver to and from the site, as well as creating up to 16 extra jobs.

Planning officers had recommended refusal – because it would harm the Green Belt and went against Council policy.

But the Council’s regulatory and appeals committee approved the scheme after pleas from the company's managing director and ward councillor Rebecca Poulson.

Now Mr Pickles will have the final say on whether the plan can go ahead.

Mytholmes Lane residents have written to him and also arranged a meeting with local MP Kris Hopkins to demand Green Belt rules are strictly adhered to.

“We don’t want anyone to lose their jobs and we are not against the site continuing as it is,” said homeowner Janet Cummings.

“The issue is regarding the Green Belt and we think the planning officers were right.

“The new site opposite Vale Mill will be right beside the Railway Children Walk which runs along the Worth Valley Railway.

“This decision could set a precedent across the country.

“Surely the firm’s owners, Maccaferri, could find an industrial area in Keighley where lorries could wait, rather than use a piece of Green Belt?” Mrs Cummings said.

Retired metallurgist Richard Walker and his wife Jan have lived in the lane for 12 years and said they always thought the Green Belt would be respected.

“However my main concern is road safety as anything which may increase delivery vehicles up and down Vale Mill Lane will just cause more chaos,” Mr Walker said.

“It’s terrible now, so it would just be ridiculous to have more traffic on such a narrow country lane where people walk, cycle and ride horses.”

Speaking after the Regulatory and Appeals committee voted to support the plans, Linear Composites managing director Steve Miller acknowledged there was one bridge left to cross.

“It's not over yet because we still need a decision from Eric Pickles, but common sense has prevailed today,” he said.

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