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New car park 'to save trees'
Supporters of a country estate are hoping a new £100,000 car park will help its fine oak trees live longer.
Visitors parking their cars on the tree-lined verges at St Ives, near Bingley, are compacting soil which is stunting the old Oaks' root growth.
Work on the car park, close to the estate's entrance, should be finished by the end of September and will even have bays for horse-boxes, says Pam Laking, of the volunteers group Friends Of St Ives.
She said: "The new car park was needed to keep up with the increasing number of visitors coming to St Ives.
"People have been using the verges, which have been compacting the soil where we have some fine old Oaks growing and it's been damaging them.
"If it's not stopped it could eventually kill them and we don't want that to happen.
"We didn't want to spoil people's vista of St Ives as they drive along the road so that's why the car park will be hidden from view.
"There's going to be more trees, shrubs and plants put in which will be especially attractive to butterflies."
Bradford Council, who own the estate which was given to the people of Bingley as a gift in by the Ferrand family the 1920s, first carried out a full consultation with the Friends group as part of the management team.
They also spoke to Bradford Urban Wildlife Group, who were worried how butterflies in the area could be affected by the work.
Sue Stead, from the wildlife group, said the final design with 56 standard car bays, three disabled bays and four horse box bays was a compromise.
"We would have been happier to keep it looking more simple, just as grass, but we've had to reach a compromise and at least a wildlife area is being maintained and going to be encouraged," she said.
Bradford Council's principal parks and landscape manager Barrie Tinker said the new car park would "add value to the visitor experience".
He said: "We are developing the St Ives Estate as a country park and because the number of people visiting the site is increasing all the time, we need to be able to welcome them with good quality parking.
"The majority of our visitors arrive by car, and at the moment a lot of these park on the sides of the road. Hopefully the new car park will keep cars away from these areas."
Around 300,000 people a year call into the estate, near Harden, to enjoy its play area, sculptures, caf, woodland walks and golf club.
The estate is also home to the Sports Turf Research Institute, the country's number one centre for expertise on grass playing surfaces.
St Ives' old mansion is also now the Centre for the Young Disabled devoted to rehabilitation.
The estate already has two other car parks - near the play area and behind the golf club - and the council is working on development of the estate in partnership with the Countryside Commission, which has linked the estate to the Pennine Bridleway, bringing more interest into the area from riders.
The new car park is being funded by the Countryside Commission and the Council's contribution is less than £50,000.