PROPOSALS to "re-open" a section of Bradford Beck to create a new park area are likely to be fast tracked at a meeting next month.

Plans to renaturalise a section of the waterway, next to Valley Road in Shipley, had been proposed as part of a multi million pound scheme to widen Valley Road and Canal Road, between Shipley and Bradford.

However, at a meeting in early April Bradford Council's Executive will consider a £3.25 million proposal to bring this part of the plan forward - effectively untethering it from the wider traffic scheme.

It would involve the removal of a "dilapidated" box culvert on a green space between Poplars Road and Briggate.

The Council says this will create a "vibrant new green space and a haven for plants and animals."

If the funding is approved then work could start next Spring - while the road scheme still works its way through development stages.

There have long been calls for improvements to be made to the beck, much of which is underground or neglected, with the Friends of Bradford Beck working to raise the profile of the waterway.

Bradford Council says the environmental project is expected to improve the river’s water quality and encourage greater biodiversity in the surrounding area encouraging a host of trees, plants and animals.

It adds: "It is hoped the urban green space would be enjoyed by residents and make a significant contribution to the quality of life and health outcomes for local people."

Half of the project (£1.625m) would be funded through the European Development Fund with the other half coming from the Council’s capital fund.

A report going before the Executive on April 6 says: "The box culvert is within Council owned land and in very poor condition. De-culverting a section of Bradford Beck will permanently remove a flooding hazard, contribute to long term improvements in water quality, improving ecology and biodiversity in the river, and increased tree coverage of the target area will increase and provide climate change mitigation capacity."

The original meandering flow of Bradford Beck was adapted to make space for the Bradford Canal, which opened in 1774 and linked the Leeds and Liverpool Canal at Shipley through to the centre of Bradford.

Water from Beck was used to feed the canal and servicing the mills created by the Industrial Revolution.

The project will seek to reverse two centuries of manmade constraints which has impaired the Beck’s ecology.

The Council’s Highways Engineers and the Landscape Design and Conservation team has developed the new design which addresses issues raised by the local Friends of Bradford Beck and Aire Rivers Trust.

Jason Longhurst, Strategic Director for Place, said: “This new project would transform a disused section of council land into a leafy green urban space offering countless benefits to local people and the environment.

“This is clearly a great scheme and by securing this additional funding, we are ensuring it’s future allowing the project to progress more quickly.

“Restoring this section of the Beck will improve air quality, reduce noise pollution, improve the water quality of the river and decrease flooding risks in the area.

“It will also create a beautiful green space which could be enjoyed by generations of local people.”

The Executive meets online on April 6.