A GOVERNMENT inspector has upheld a decision to refuse plans for a development of affordable homes – saying it would be a “significant urban encroachment” on the greenbelt.

Bradford Council had turned down plans for 42 houses to be built off Halifax Road, just outside Denholme, on the former site of Foreside Mill, in January.

At the time, council planning officers raised concerns about the housing scheme’s impact on the rural area, saying: “The factors in favour of the development are not considered to clearly outweigh the harm the development would cause to the greenbelt.”

Since then applicants Stirling Investment Properties have appealed that decision. After looking at the plans, a Government planning inspector has now backed the council’s stance.

Foreside Mill was demolished in 2010 with a view of developing the site for housing, and the applicants had described it as a brownfield site. They added: “It represents an improvement on the existing visual landscape of the site being brownfield and unkept, whilst developing a scheme that is sensitive to the surrounding greenbelt landscape.”

But planning inspector Alison Partington points out in her decision that the site is classified as greenbelt.

Her decision says that although it is sometimes permitted to build on previously developed greenbelt land, this particular development would not be suitable.


It says: “Openness is an essential characteristic of the greenbelt.

“Currently, although the floor slab and some low walls of the former mill building can still be seen amongst the undergrowth and scrub vegetation, the site is free from buildings and other structures. Consequently, the development of the site for 42 houses would have a significantly greater impact on the openness of the greenbelt than the site does at present.”

In their appeal, the developers had said this was an “infill” site, but the inspector’s report added: “The proposal is for 42 houses which is significantly greater than is suggested would normally be able to be accommodated on an infill site. The proposal would develop what is an unsightly vacant site, and would bring some visual improvement to the area. Nevertheless, as outlined above, this would be to the detriment of the openness of the greenbelt, which is one of its essential characteristics.”