COUNCIL bosses have authorised the use of Compulsory Purchase Orders to allow a major traffic scheme to go ahead.

At a meeting of Bradford Council’s Executive on Tuesday, members discussed the Bradford to Shipley Route Improvement Scheme - a multi million pound project intended to reduce congestion on two busy highway corridors.

They approved using the orders - which allow the Council to force landowners to sell their property, to ensure the project can go ahead. They said there was “little or no prospect” of some pieces of land being sold voluntarily.

Due to the Coronavirus crisis, the meeting was in the form of a teleconference, rather than a City Hall meeting with the press and public in attendance.

Due to cost the £47 million, with much of the funding coming from West Yorkshire Combined Authority, the scheme will see a stretch of Canal Road and Valley Road widened to make it a four lane carriageway.

A stretch of Bradford Beck will be uncovered as part of the proposals.

Part of Bradford Beck to be uncovered as part of road improvement scheme

Manningham Lane will be improved to give priority to public transport, cyclists and pedestrians.

The Executive were told that for the scheme to go ahead, two pieces of land would need to be purchased. Details of these plots of land were included in documents that have not been made public.

A report to the meeting said: “The Council has undertaken market testing and made contact with some of the land owners / affected parties to explore the extent to which it may be possible to acquire land and rights needed for the scheme through voluntary negotiation.

“Letters were sent to several land owners / affected parties on the 10th February 2020 enquiring whether they would consider a sale of the site/property.

“Initial responses have already identified that one of the affected land owners/occupier is not interested in selling the site, which in itself would be sufficient for the council to have to use its CPO powers.

“It is highly likely and inevitable that it will not be possible to acquire all the land and rights needed by voluntary means without recourse to a compulsory purchase powers, given the vast number of land interests involved.”

The decision, published on the Council website yesterday, said: “The Executive is satisfied that at this stage there is little or no prospect of the land and rights being acquired through voluntary means, that the proposed Bradford to Shipley Route Improvement Scheme is in the public interest and that any harm caused by the use of compulsory purchase powers to acquire and interfere with third party land and rights needed for the scheme is outweighed by the public benefits which the improvement scheme will generate.”

The scheme has already proved controversial. The former Branch pub was purchased by the Council in 2018 and subsequently demolished to make way for the works.

And campaign group Clean Air Bradford recently launched a petition calling for scheme to be scrapped. They say it will bring more traffic into Shipley and past three of the town’s primary schools.

So far the petition has been signed by 198 people.