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Bingley fishing boss hopes to land lake approval
11:00am Monday 20th August 2012 in Aire Valley
The owner of a fishing lake centre near Bingley is urging planners to back his proposals for a major expansion to create an on-site classroom for children who have been expelled from mainstream schools.
Mike Bradbury will find out next month whether Bradford Council will allow him to dig a third lake and canal pond and provide a clubhouse and a classroom at Farview fishing lakes in Lee Lane, between Wilsden and Cottingley .
Mr Bradbury, who already provides days out for youngsters from Pupil Referral Units in the Bradford district, said taking part in activities such as fishing had “dramatically improved” their behaviour.
The units are for children who cannot attend mainstream school, often because of behavioural problems.
Mr Bradbury said: “There are a lot of kids that cannot go to school and are in alternative education. We are hoping to teach them how to maintain the lakes as well – it is not just fishing – and how to keep them tidy and cut the grass to give them skills.
“It is endless what we can do, but we need the facilities to do it. There are similar schemes running down south which have absolutely changed their behaviour.”
Currently, youngsters from 13 schools in Bradford district and West Yorkshire, as well as disabled groups, use the 80-acre site. Another seven schools will be taking part from September, Mr Bradbury said.
“An expansion would mean we would be opening it up to far more schools, maybe up to 50 children a day,” he said. “This is really something that the Council should be doing, but they really cannot afford it at the moment.”
The proposals, including the classroom for about a dozen pupils, have been backed by the Council's department of social services, whose staff have set up a fishing club for adopted and fostered children, based at Farview fishing lakes.
Mr Bradbury has also bought a part-derelict chalet, known as Highfield, on green belt land next to the lakes, which he plans to demolish and then build a house for himself and his wife, daughter and grandson.
This has proved controversial as the proposed three-bedroom bungalow is larger than the chalet, which would mean development in the green belt.
Mr Bradbury said: “It is not near anyone and it is no bigger than an agricultural building. If I was keeping animals there, I would get planning permission straight away.”
Mr Bradbury said a decision was expected on the scheme by the end of September.