A PLANNING application for a 214 space car park on a Green Belt site in Steeton has been refused by Bradford Council.

An application for the car park, on land belonging to Airedale Tree Surgeons on Station Road, was first submitted last year, with the applicants saying it would offer much needed extra parking for nearby Steeton and Silsden Station.

At a meeting of Bradford Council's Bradford Planning Panel on Wednesday members voted to refuse the plans due to the car park's green belt location and the lack of any Transport Assessment - a document members were told was essential for such a large parking facility on a main road.

There have been major capacity issues at Steeton and Silsden Station for years, with the car park usually full before 8am on weekdays.

West Yorkshire Combined Authority has proposed building a new car park at the station, which will create space for an extra 104 cars.

But during the meeting the agent for the applicants questioned whether this project would ever be built, and said their car park would meet the need for extra parking spaces without costing the taxpayers money.

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The panel heard that a car park had existed on the site for a number of years without planning permission, and the applicants had submitted the application to regularise this use and allow the site.

The car park would charge £3 a day.

Caroline Sunter, representing the applicants, said allowing this car park would mean the multi storey car park at the station was not needed. She added: "The applicants doubt that the multi storey car park at the station will ever be built, as it keeps getting pushed back. This car park would be of no cost to the public."

She said the site was a brownfield site in low quality Green Belt.

Referring to the claim that the car park would save the public money, planning officer Andrew Moxon said: "This is a scheme that a private developer will benefit from by charging £3 a day. It is not necessarily saving the taxpayer."

Members heard that officers had raised serious concerns over the lack of a Transport Assessment - which would detail how traffic passing into and out of the site at different times of the day would effect traffic.

Principal Engineer at the Council John Rowley said: "It is not that they have provided a sub-standard Transport Assessment, it was that there wasn't one provided at all. We had nothing to judge against. It might be demonstrated that a car park on this size would be acceptable, but without the assessment we're blind to the impact of the development.

Some members suggested deferring the application until a Transport Assessment is prepared. But others said the fact that the site was in Green Belt alone was enough of a reason to refuse the plan.

Members were told they would have to demonstrate "very special circumstances" if they were to approve a large car park on Green Belt land.

Councillor Aneela Ahmed (Lab, City) said: "This is Green belt land. If you chuck tarmac on it then that space is gone."

The vote to refuse the plans passed 4-2.

After the meeting a West Yorkshire Combined Authority spokesperson said the planned car park at the station would be going ahead, despite the suggestions made at the meeting. They said: “The new car park at Steeton and Silsden, which is fully designed and approved, will improve access to the station by providing a further 104 spaces including three additional blue badge bays, improved cycle stands and will provide the necessary infrastructure for Electric Vehicle charging bays.

“We can confirm that works are due to begin in the coming months and further details will be announced shortly.”