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Brownfield site 'was an option' for hi-tech park
Campaigners fighting plans for a £25 million hi-tech business park on green fields near Baildon say Bradford Council has admitted a brownfield site could have been bought for the development.
Baildon Residents Against Inappropriate Development has accused officers at the authority of making a “deliberate choice” to use green fields after receiving a response to a question on the proposals asked at a full Council meeting.
The question, put to Council leader Councillor David Green by Coun Debbie Davies (Con, Baildon), asked why Buck Lane had been earmarked for the development over brownfield sites, including those near Dockfield Road and Esholt.
A written response from the Council stated: “The budget allocated could be used to purchase other sites, but the Council approved the Airedale Masterplan in 2005 which included Buck Lane as a hi-tech business park and we are now delivering its ambitions.”
The campaign group’s chairman Dr Steve Walker said: “This is an amazing admission. The Council are clearly saying that they could have used a brownfield site for their proposed industrial estate but made a deliberate choice to use the Buck Lane green fields instead.
“This decision violates their own brownfield first policy. They justify it by appealing to the seven-year-old Airedale ‘Master Plan’. The world has changed and the Council refuses to acknowledge it. Decisions taken years ago are more relevant to them than present circumstances.”
Coun Davies, who also asked whether the £2.5 million needed to make Buck Lane accessible would be better spent procuring a brownfield site, said if a wrong decision had been made, it should now be changed.
She said: “The decision was made in a different economic climate and if it now makes economic sense to do it a different way then they should look at other options.”
The response to Coun Davies also said: “The site was identified in the Airedale Masterplan as offering an ideal opportunity to provide a modern business park in the Aire Valley and to achieve this the Council invoked a buy back clause to repurchase the site at the original selling price.
“The Council bought it back to develop as an employment site in 2007.
“Appreciating there are brownfield sites in the area, they are not in Council ownership and the sites are not of the size to enable a development which provides a significant contribution to improving the provision of modern accommodation in the Aire Valley.”