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Residents hold protest march over new homes proposal
Campaigners angry at plans to build 330 homes on greenfield land staged a protest walk around the proposed development site on Saturday.
The 100-strong group of local residents were joined by David Ward, Liberal Democrat MP for Bradford East, and ward councillors including Liberal Democrat group leader Jeanette Sunderland.
Bradford Council planners are yet to deliver a verdict on the Persimmon Homes project for the 30-acre Cote Farm site on Leeds Road, Thackley.
Isobel Burgess, one of the protest organisers, said: “The people of Thackley do not want these houses, and do not need them. There are more than a thousand houses standing empty in the area already.
“The green fields are so precious to everyone who lives in this area, so we must try to save them.”
More than 1,000 people have made objections to the housing plans, organising an online petition and report to outline their arguments against the development.
The report states that the additional homes will lead to increased traffic congestion, added pressure on local schools and services, and potential flooding risks.
Residents are also concerned about the loss of green space and with it, a sense of identity for Thackley.
Councillor Sunderland (Idle, Thackley) said: “The main issues are traffic congestion, as people will queue for hours to get out of this new estate on a morning, and lack of infrastructure in terms of school places. Children that live close to local schools cannot get places in those schools. You cannot put hundreds more families into Idle and Thackley without dealing with that problem.”
Mr Ward said: “As a councillor, I fought against the development of Cote Farm more than 20 years ago. We were told at the time that the green land was there to provide a buffer between Windhill and Thackley, and now planners want that as well. There was a firm commitment to protect that land, and we want that commitment to be retained.
“There has already been an increase of housing in this area, and we have accepted that as making our contribution to the needs of Bradford, but there comes a point when other areas need to be looked at.
“There are hundreds of places in the city centre that could be converted back into homes. Developers clearly find it easier and cheaper to build on green space.”
Despite protestations from locals that 1,300 homes already stand empty in the Thackley and Idle area, Persimmon Homes has previously stressed its view that there is a recognised need for the proposed two, three, four and five-bedroom properties.
Wayne Gradwell, managing director at Persimmon Homes West Yorkshire, said previously of the Cote Farm site: “We have endeavoured to address the concerns of the local residents and have carried out in-depth reports.
“It is very important to us that we develop homes that serve the local community. We await a decision from Bradford Council.”
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