THERE are fears green land in and around Bradford could be eroded amid a raft of major proposals.

Grave concerns have been raised about a number of developments in, or close to the district, with campaigners fearing swathes of green land, some greenbelt, could be ripped up and lost forever.

The proposed £64m Bradford South link road and plans for 127 new homes in Birkenshaw are just some of the schemes which objectors are up in arms over.

 Matt Edwards, from the Bradford Green Party, which is working with campaigners in the Tong and Fulneck area, has called on Bradford Council to prioritise redeveloping inner city areas before “allowing developers to permanently destroy our countryside”.

He said some places are starting to lose their distinct local identity and, if things carry on, will ultimately end up as suburbs of Leeds.

“The green belt was created in the fifties to stop our urban areas joining together. That purpose is still just as important today as it was back then," he said.

"In recent years, we have seen our councils allow massive developments on this green land.

"The Green Party is working with local people to protect this green land – which in some cases - like the Tong Valley - are genuinely beautiful parts of our countryside that should be real assets for our communities."

Proposals for the new Bradford South link road, which would run between Tong and Holme Wood, have attracted ire. The road has been proposed to ease congestion on Tong Street and in the Holme Wood Estate and while an exact route has yet to be revealed, a report into the plans acknowledged parts of the road could fall within greenbelt land.

Julia McGoldrick, Chair of the Tong and Fulneck Valley Association, said: "We need open spaces - we need them near cities so people can get out to them."

She highlighted how it would erode the separation between Bradford and Leeds and cut off people in areas like Holme Wood being able to access countryside.

Mr Edwards added: "This scheme will see the loss of vast areas of green space which we need to preserve to fight climate breakdown.”

Andrew Carter, ward councillor for Calverley and Farsley and Leader of the Leeds Conservative Group, recently raised concern about the plans.

He said: "If these proposals go ahead we believe that the road could badly affect the greenbelt land that currently separates Leeds and Bradford."

The Council has previously said that its local plan prioritises brownfield development and was drawn up within strict Government guidelines.

It said the plan, at its core, has the principle of encouraging the right development in the right places while protecting at least 98 per cent of the greenbelt.

And when the plans for the link road were revealed, it said the options are at a “very early stage of development”, with no firm proposals confirmed beyond an initial appraisal of potential routes. 

Concerns have also been raised in response to outline plans for 127 homes on former greenbelt land in Birkenshaw, which are set to be approved by Kirklees Council.

The application for a 3.2 hectare plot of agricultural land fronting Whitehall Road West was made as soon as the authority adopted its new planning blueprint, the Local Plan, earlier this year.

This saw the land, owned by Carlton Ives of Blue Hills Farm, reallocated from green belt to residential use, and has prompted a number of objections.

A report to Kirklees Council's strategic planning committee, which meets tomorrow to determine the plans, outlines how there have been a total of 47 objections, with many focusing on the loss of the green belt, as well as fears over increased traffic congestion and overcrowded local facilities.

They also urge that brownfield sites are developed first and that developing the site could see Birkenshaw and neighbouring Hunsworth merge into one.

One comment left in response said: "How will the little village of Birkenshaw cope with another 127 dwellings. Leave the green in Birkenshaw and stop blinding us with buildings.

"It's such a pretty village but is losing its character and natural spaces."

And another said: "The field offers a natural demarcation between Birkenshaw and Hunsworth and if developed the villages will begin to merge into one development."

Meanwhile, in Calderdale the first stage of examination hearings into its Local Plan are set to begin in Shelf next week.They will consider matters such as vision and strategy, housing and employment need, and supply and travellers.

The plan, which will shape where thousands of homes and businesses are likely to be built in Calderdale over a 15-year period, has seen particular concern expressed over the prospect of two “garden suburbs” in the Brighouse area. If approved, almost 4,000 new homes would be earmarked for Thornhills and Woodhouse.

Local councillor Scott Benton has always argued that the number of homes planned for the Brighouse area was disproportionate and that there was insufficient infrastructure in place to cope.