Campaigners fighting to overturn planning approval for a new lorry park at Vale Mills, Oakworth, have sought urgent advice from local MP Kris Hopkins.
Residents from Mytholmes Lane are opposing the new wagon storage area on green belt beside the famous Railway Children Walk Industrial fabrics maker Linear Composites has won permission from Bradford councillors for the development across the road from its Vale Mill site, despite objections by planning officers.
But because the land is designated green belt, the final say lies with Communities Secretary Eric Pickles and a decision is expected within days Seven Mytholmes Lane householders have met with Keighley MP Kris Hopkins to discuss their hopes of influencing the decision, which they say has ramifications for green belt policy across the UK.
Residents’ spokesman Janet Cummings listed the points of their argument which they had put to Mr Hopkins.
“While saying he could see both sides of the argument, he did advise us on how to approach Mr Pickles and that he would also have a word with him on the matter,” Mrs Cummings said.
“We told Mr Hopkins that while there will be a substantial increase in local traffic, a full technical report of the impact on local traffic has not been carried out.
“The firm’s Italian owners Maccaferri state that two more HGVs will visit each week and additional vans will be used for delivery.
“It is important to establish what the additional volume is so the impact on local traffic can be properly assessed.”
Mrs Cummings said she believes rules regarding development in the green belt were not fully applied when Bradford Council’s regulatory and appeals committee overturned officers’ recommendations and voted for the plan, which promised to sustain both jobs and a thriving business.
Speaking of his meeting with the Oakworth residents, Mr Hopkins said: “Part of my role as an MP is to guide my constituents through various processes.
“I have spoken to the firm which rightly wants to protect the jobs of its staff, which are very important to the local economy.
“I have also met with local residents who have concerns about the development and wish to understand what rights they have under the appeal process and what appropriate courses of action are open to them,” he said.