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HAWORTH: 'Jewel in crown will be turned from gold to tin'
The "jewel in Bradford's tourism crown" will turn from "gold to tin" if draft plans for hundreds of homes in the Worth Valley are approved, a councillor has warned.
The chairman of Haworth Parish Council, John Huxley, is urging residents and ward councillors to fight proposals for up to 986 homes in the Pennine village, best known as the home of the Bronte sisters and which attracts thousands of tourists every year.
Bradford Council has ear-marked 14 sites in Haworth as suitable for development in the first stage of produc-ing its Local Development Framework (LDF).
Coun Huxley said: "People in Haworth have been shocked at the number of houses they want to build here. We have understood for some time that developers want to put houses here because it is a nice place to live but at some point we will reach a level where we change the nature of Haworth from a Pennine settlement to a small town that is a suburb of Keighley.
"One of the main ways people earn a living in Haworth is in the tourist industry. In the LDF it says the Council wants to protect the landscape and tourism but that isn't consistent with building hundreds of houses. The Council has said Haworth is the jewel in its tourism crown but are they prepared to turn it from gold to tin?
That is basically what the choice is.
"This is a very sensitive area. English Heritage has identified it as a special area which is already under threat from inappropriate tourist signs. There is a lot of work to do if we are going to create jobs. Putting more than 900 houses in Haworth is the quickest way of killing that."
Bradford Council has to find room for 45,500 new homes throughout the dis-trict by 2028. Areas available for possible housing schemes have been identified in the Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA) and the proposals are under public consultation. The document will form part of Bradford's Local Development Framework - a key document which will shape the future of house building in the district.
Currently two of the proposed sites have planning approval, including 33 homes at Lees Lane, Cross Roads and 47 in Ivy Bank Lane. A further seven sites, identified as suitable for 542 homes, are protected as village green space and greenbelt land. These include 112 homes at Weavers Hill adjacent to the Council car and coach park; 162 homes in Bramwell Drive, Marsh Lane; 71 homes in Mytholmes Lane and 99 homes on two plots in Sun Street. Two former mill sites have also been put forward as suitable for development including Bridgehouse Mill and Ebor Mills.
Sloping fields in Ashlar Close, Portland Street, Jacobs Lane and Worstead Road, Cross Roads have also been earmarked for homes.
Coun Huxley said the parish council hoped to persuade Bradford Council the area was not suitable for such a major homes expansion. He said councillors were preparing a neighbourhood development plan which they hoped would help shape future planning policy in the area.
He said: "Quite clearly Bradford Council has to meet targets laid down by the government and we understand that but we do have to ques-tion their numbers. We want to engage with Bradford as part of the consultation to get that number reduced. It is bad enough that Haworth has more than 900 homes but when you consider Oakworth and Oxenhope that is more than 1,400 extra homes in the Worth Valley by 2028. We want to know where is the infrastructure for that and who is paying for it.
"We know it isn't possible to kill all development.
Planners are looking at this valley because there is land here but the question is, is it appropriate to put that level of housing in this area?"
THE LONG-TERM LAND STRATEGY
The Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA) is a technical document which will provide a pool of sites from which to select land to be allocated for housing when preparing the Local Development Framework.
The Framework is a blueprint that will manage development and growth across the district over the next 15 years.
Consultation on it's core strategy document, which sets out a long-term spatial vision for the district until 2028, is continuing. It sets out broad locations for development and policies that will influence the use of land and the type and scale of development permitted, as well as identifying key infrastructure requirements.
The overall Local Development Framework is expected to come into effect in 2013 with consultation over specific land allocations taking place during 2012.
Sites included in the current SHLAA may not make it into the land allocations documents and final framework. In addition further potential sites could be identified as the assessment is updated every year.