PLANNING permission to build three raised planters on Station Road in Ilkley has been refused by Bradford Council.

The application followed attempts by Ilkley resident Roger Yaxley last year to improve the main gateway into the town. Mr Yaxley began work to transform the three existing flower beds but was ordered to stop by Bradford Council who said he needed to gain planning permission.

The official application attracted objections including one on behalf of the freeholders of the adjacent Station Plaza development who said the seating area would encourage congregation of groups of youths with the potential for anti-social behaviour and would have a detrimental effect on the trade of the adjacent retailers, particularly Pizza Express, La Stazioni and The Ticket Office which have outside seating for their customers directly opposite the proposed planters. They also expressed concern about who would be responsible for on going maintenance.

Ilkley Civic Society also said it was unable to support the plan pointing out a number of discrepancies and omissions in the submission, such as the appropriateness of the dry stone style of walling, the suitability of

the plant selection, future maintenance and irrigation proposals not being clear.

Refusing planning permission the planning officer's report says: "In a nutshell, whilst the application seems motivated by an honest desire to enhance the appearance of the station forecourt, the introduction of a raised and inappropriate dry stone wall in front of the station buildings would be harmful to the setting of the Grade II listed Midland Railway station building.

"The raised walls would form clutter in front of the listed building and its proposed dry stone wall construction has no relevance to the buildings behind the proposed beds. The likely loss of, or damage to, many of the existing prominent trees due to damage to their roots during the construction of the raised wall and infilling with soil would not preserve or enhance the character or appearance of this part of Ilkley conservation area. Indeed, the proposal would be predicted to cause substantial long term harm to the conservation area as a heritage asset."