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New concern over Queensbury houses battleground
Parts of Queensbury have long been battlegrounds between developers and campaigners, with planning applications for large-scale developments in the village hotly contested in recent years.
Residents and community leaders claim Queensbury’s infrastructure is unable to cope with more new homes, but building companies remain keen to use sites earmarked for development.
House-building is likely to remain a prevalent issue in the village after Bradford Council identified 18 possible sites in Queensbury ward, suitable for about 1,500 new homes over the next 17 years, as part of its Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA).
They include five sites already allocated for development, the largest three of which – Broomfield Street, Harrowins Farm and Hazelhurst Quarry – are all of interest to developers and could be completed within the next six years.
Leeds-based company Harron Homes has been given the green light for a 128-property housing development at Hazelhurst Quarry, Preston-based Kingsfold Developments has outline planning permission for 155 dwellings on the four-hectare site at Harrowins Farm, while Black Dyke Mills owners PJ and JE Wade were granted permission for 112 houses at land east of Broomfield Street in September.
Other opportunities for development identified in the SHLAA include a possible further 150 homes at Black Dyke Mills and ten green-field sites, including areas near Jackson Hill Road, Station Road west and east, Cross Lane and Halifax Road.
The potential for more than 600 new homes has been identified at unused fields between Queensbury and Mountain, near Fleet Lane and Old Guy Road. Due to the size of the possible scheme, major on and off-site infrastructure would be required before it could be delivered with new homes able to be built, in principle, 13 years from now.
Councillor Michael Walls (Con, Queensbury) has spoken out against proposals for several developments in the village and is opposed to permission being granted for any large-scale housing schemes in the future.
He said: “Over the past ten to 15 years we have had more than 2,000 new homes built on larger sites and others have been approved and not built yet. The old-fashioned roads that can’t be improved are now suffering from congestion and children from Queensbury are also having trouble getting into schools.
“All in all, unless things are improved, we can’t take any more. Nothing raises people’s anger in Queensbury more than wanting to build houses.”
He added: “The planning system is totally against people’s wishes. The planning officers need to listen to local people and local people need to send in their views.”
Independent Councillors Paul and Lynda Cromie also voiced concerns about the ability of the village’s infrastructure to cope with new developments but accept building on some green-belt sites is inevitable.
Councilor Paul Cromie said: “We have got to be sensible about this. While we appreciate we are going to have to build houses in the future, we have to be mindful that we have to protect the green belt.
“It would be rather foolish to think that all the green belt will remain forever, but we have got to use common sense on this issue. Also we need to act more on the concerns and wishes of local residents. The local residents often seem to be the last people to find out what’s going on.
“The traffic and infrastructure of Queensbury is at breaking point. There has to be serious thought regarding schools, roads, doctors’ surgeries and so on. We are probably the only village in the country without a community centre.”
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