Campaigners fighting plans to build up to 2,700 homes – the majority in the green belt – have accused Bradford Council of going against the wishes of residents after it was revealed two thirds of respondents to a consultation favoured proposals for a much smaller development.
Almost 230 residents filled in questionnaires for the Holme Wood and Tong Neighbourhood Development Plan, which considered options for building either 600 or 2,700 homes to meet demand for housing in the district and regenerating the area.
A total of 66 per cent of them preferred option one for 600 homes, which would largely be built on urban sites. However, officers have recommended option two for 2,700 homes for approval by councillors, which was favoured by just 36 respondents – 16 per cent. Eighteen per cent of those who replied supported neither scheme.
Canon Gordon Dey, chairman of the Save Tong and Fulneck Valley Association, who has warned the larger scheme would see 1,800 homes built in the valley, said residents were disillusioned as they believed their views were not being taken into account.
He said: “It’s very straight forward that this is the second time that there’s been a major attempt to gain the views of local people. In each case those views have been sought in a manner that has been to seduce local people to agreeing with green build release because it will somehow improve the estate.
“Even though people have been in favour of many of the improvements, people are saying we don’t want that to happen at the expense of the green belt.
“When you look at what’s offered it’s even more striking that people are saying ‘we don’t want the loss of the green belt’. It’s an overwhelming number of people who said we don’t want option two.”
Forty per cent of residents in Holme Wood – 25 respondents – supported option two.
David Shepherd, the Council’s assistant director for housing, employment and skills, said: “There isn’t one clear view of how people want to see development happen in and around Holme Wood, though one thing nearly everyone agreed with was that the estate must be improved.
“The level of support shown by existing Holme Wood residents for option two, which leads to wider improvements to the area, is a clear indication of the opportunity this scheme provides for raising the quality of life on the estate.”
The plan will be considered by the executive committee on Friday, January 20.