“Once it’s gone, it’s gone. There is a reason that site has never been developed in the past."
As the consultation period on Bradford’s Local Plan closes today (24/9), one group has delivered over 3,000 responses calling for a site to be protected from housing.
Bradford Council is currently in the process of developing its Local Plan, which will allocate areas of the district for future housing, business use and new infrastructure, like roads. Current housing targets require Bradford Council to make sure 1,703 new homes are delivered in the district each year until 2037.
The public was asked to have their say on the proposals as part of a public consultation that ran from late July until 5pm today.
One of the more controversial parts of the scheme are proposals to build at least 2,000 homes in the South East of Bradford – expanding from Holme Wood towards the Leeds border, some of which is in Green Belt.
A new link road would also be built in the area to “unlock” areas for housing.
Those plans have led to anger from residents and politicians, including Councillors from the neighbouring Leeds Council area.
Yesterday afternoon members of the Save Tong and Fulneck Valley Association presented several crates of completed responses to the review, over 3,200 in total, to the offices of Bradford Council. And those were just the ones that had been handed to the group – many more representations from people living in that area are likely to have had their say online.
The group has set up stall at numerous events in Bradford and Leeds in recent weeks, encouraging people to take part in the consultation. Members of the group say that while many areas of the district’s Green Belt will be spared in the Local Plan, a huge swath of Tong and Fulneck Valley will be sacrificed for housing.
Julia McGoldrick, who attended Britannia House to hand in the responses, said: “It is protected Green Belt land, they can’t build on it.
“They say less than two per cent of Green Belt land will be lost under the local plan, but about 28 per cent of the Tong Valley will go under these plans.
“Once it’s gone, it’s gone. There is a reason that site has never been developed in the past.
Matt Edwards, spokesperson for Bradford Green Party has submitted his own comments on the Core Strategy review. He has said: “The people living near the Tong Valley have sent a clear message to Bradford Council. They will not sit back and let the valley be earmarked for housing.
“There is no way of building houses in the Tong Valley without building the new link road which will lead to increased emissions and the loss of trees. This means that the Council is knowingly putting forward a large site for development which directly contravenes their commitments to tackle climate change.
“With this in mind, the Green Party group on Bradford Council and I urge planners to go back to the drawing board and find new ways of using existing brownfield sites to meet their housing targets without damaging the environment.”
After today’s deadline the Council will consider responses before drawing up the latest iteration of the Local Plan.
The full plan is unlikely to have been approved by Central Government until around 2022.