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‘Two fields isn’t a green belt for Wilsden’
The authority has identified five sites for up to 705 homes in the village as part of its Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA).
Three adjoining sites near Crack Lane have been proposed for the bulk of the properties. They include a plot which has already been identified for housing in the council’s Unitary Development Plan and is currently the subject of a planning application for 73 homes, which is being strongly opposed by residents.
Councillor Simon Cooke (Con, Bingley Rural) said: “I don’t think people in Wilsden will support this kind of expansion in the village. The site at Crack Lane has already had two planning applications refused on it and those refusals have been upheld by a planning inspector.
“Access to it is down a narrow road with a 1 in 4 gradient. I don’t know why the Council is trying so hard to use these sites when they are so constrained by highways considerations.
“Highway issues are a major concern in Wilsden. You only have to drive down Wilsden Main Street to see the problems that could occur with congestion and road safety.
“People want to avoid driving through Shipley when they are travelling from Keighley to Bradford so they go through Wilsden. The narrow roads are already busy and that would be made worse if hundreds more houses are built.”
The Council is finding room for 45,500 homes by 2028 in the SHLAA and the proposals are out for public consultation.
The document will eventually form part of Bradford’s Local Development Framework – a key planning document which will shape the future of house building in the district.
Green belt land has been earmarked for a large proportion of the homes in Wilsden including 268 homes at Harden Lane and Bents Lane and 297 homes on a second site in Crack Lane.
Planning permission has already been granted for 41 homes at Shay Lane and a further 11 in Crooke Lane and building work is under way at both sites.
Coun Cooke said: “It is very difficult to expand Wilsden without running it in to somewhere else or taking chunks out of the green belt. A major concern is the development that could also take place in Bradford north-west.
“If Wilsden is developed out from Shay Lane it could join up with any development in Prune Park and stop being a village and become a suburb of Bradford.
“The point of green belt is separateness for places. I don’t think a couple of fields, which is what will be left if these proposals go ahead, constitutes a substantial green belt.”
Wilsden parish councillor Peter Allison said the council was planning to hold a public meeting to gauge the response of Wilsden residents. He said in addition to concerns about building on green belt, the council is worried about the lack of infrastructure and facilities in the village to cope with additional housing.
He said: “The school and the medical centre are full. The Council’s core strategy did say there was a possibility of expanding the medical facilities in Harden and Denholme but at the moment Wilsden is effectively providing medical facilities for all four surrounding villages, including Cullingworth. We are already overstretched. We want to be sure this will be dealt with before any houses are built.”
The public meeting will take place in Wilsden Village Hall on Wednesday at 7.30pm.