A leading green space pressure group says it is in a stronger position than ever after winning the backing of a number of politicians.

Dr David Ingham says Wharfedale and Airedale Review Development (Ward) has the backing of six Yorkshire MPs and is expecting a seventh to sign up soon as well as parish and town councils along the A65 corridor through the likes of Horsforth, Rawdon, Yeadon, Guiseley, Menston and Ilkley, right up towards Skipton.

And while he is urging other groups to get involved with Ward, he believes the organisation now has a strong case to tackle the Government on current and proposed planning laws.

“Our organisation is now in an extremely strong position to influence change,” he said. “Because we strive to represent community concerns which cross metropolitan and Parliamentary constituency boundaries we have managed to secure pledges of support from six Yorkshire MPs and are currently in the process of acquiring support from a seventh.

“To promote our case further we are constantly seeking support from local councillors and all community groups across Wharfedale and Airedale. Over the past 12 months we have acquired considerable expertise in planning laws and procedures and have had invaluable experience of speaking at two inspectorate appeals and several planning applications.

“There is no doubt we are stronger together, with Ward acting as an umbrella community group, than we are acting separately.”

The group has asked for meetings with the Government’s Communities secretary Eric Pickles and decentralisation and planning minister Greg Clark to argue their case against the “inappropriate” development of greenbelt land across the Bradford and Leeds districts.

Dr Ingham was speaking after his group criticised plans in the Bradford Local Development Framework (LDF) which is proposing up to 3,100 homes in Wharfedale and is out to public consultation.

“There is absolutely no doubt that should these developments go through unchanged the result will be a devastating impact upon the existing public transport system and upon the already over-stretched capacity of the A65 to deal with present day traffic numbers. In addition, schools, doctors, dentists and a whole host of public service infrastructure will find itself unable to cope with the increased number of residents and their everyday needs,” a statement from Ward said.

“Also, the resultant loss of green space between communities will inevitably mean the merging of villages and the loss of individual community identities.”

For more details, go to W-A-R-D.org.