Furious row breaks out as minister steps in to halt Bradford Council’s controversial development plan

T&A titlepiece

A Government minister has stepped in to pause a controversial development blueprint, after Shipley’s MP raised fears about the scale of building in the green belt.

But Bradford Council bosses have responded with anger, accusing Philip Davies of jeopardising the very fields he sought to protect.

The Council’s executive was today poised to back the core strategy of its Local Plan, which includes controversial proposals to build 11,000 homes on green belt land by 2030.

But in a dramatic twist, planning minister Gavin Barwell has told the authority to halt all proceedings while the Government investigates concerns raised by Conservative MP Mr Davies.

The delay has provoked angry responses with Council leader, Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe, accusing Mr Davies of “a completely irresponsible abuse of power”.

Mr Davies had lobbied Communities Secretary Sajid Javid to intervene after a Government planning inspector effectively ratified the Council’s strategy last month.

In particular, Mr Davies raised concerns about the loss of green belt which was being proposed for Wharfedale.

He said the plan should include rules that developers have to build on all available brownfield land before moving into the green belt.

And he said the core strategy would only bring back into use 3,000 of the 7,700 empty homes in the district.

Mr Barwell has told Bradford Council to stop all work on adopting the plan, while Communities Secretary Mr Javid looks into the matter and decides whether to intervene.

At the meeting of the Labour-run Council’s executive, an angry Cllr Hinchcliffe said the inspector had already listened to Mr Davies’ views and had decided to back the plan.

She said: “This is him taking his bat and ball home and triggering a process that is going to eat up the time and energy of the Government and the Council and will end up with nothing changing.”

The authority’s portfolio holder for planning, Councillor Alex Ross-Shaw, added: “This is an absolutely pathetic stunt, to be honest.

Posted in Development, LDF, Local Development Framework, Neighbourhood Plan, News

Bradford Core Strategy Development Plan Document: Publication of Inspectors Report

This report provides the Inspectors findings, recommendations and conclusions (and the reasons behind these).  The Council is accordingly now publishing and making available the Inspectors Report and Appendix containing the Main Modifications required to make the plan sound and capable of adoption.

Availability of Documents

The Inspectors Report and Appendix are available to view on the Council’s website


Posted in Bypass, Development, Infrastructure, LDF, Local Development Framework, Neighbourhood Plan

Silsden is to get a new primary school on a greenfield site on the outskirts of town

From Keighley News


Silsden is to get a new primary school on a greenfield site on the outskirts of town.

The new campus, above Daisy Hill and Silsden Park, will bring together the existing Hothfield Junior School and Aire View Infants School.

The complex, due to be open by 2018, will solve existing overcrowding problems and help meet future demand from families moving into the 1,200 new homes planned for Silsden over the next few years.

Silsden councillor Adrian Naylor today exclusively revealed the location of the school site to the Keighley News following the council’s recent purchase of land bordering Banklands Lane and Hawber Cote Lane, off Bolton Road.

The newly-bought land will form half the school site, with the other half taking up an existing site owned by Bradford Council since it put forward plans for a middle school several decades ago.

This council land lies off Middleway and Aireville Mount, above a belt of land accessed off Daisy Hill and earmarked for housing.


Cllr Naylor, who is both a Bradford and Silsden councillor, said parents of children at Aire View and Hothfield were due to be sent letters either tonight or tomorrow.

He said: “The letter says the council has completed the acquisition of land and is now moving along to start the process with the two schools merging in September 2017.” “At the end of the week the council will appoint a design team to start work on the new facility. “I’ve offered to host a public meeting when the designers have some thoughts to share, so that local people know what designs are being considered before they reach the planning stage. “The council expects to go to the planning committee at some point next year, possibly springtime. We’re looking at a 2018/2019 timeframe for the school to open. “Part of completion is moving equipment which is why the council usual likes moving through the summer holidays, but it hasn’t ruled out moving one part of the school in first and the other one later.”

News of the new school’s location was revealed following behind-closed-door discussions yesterday by Bradford Council’s ruling Executive.

Executive members approved the proposed merger of the existing schools, planned for September next year and previously the subject of public consultation.

They also allocated funding for the new Silsden school complex from the council’s Basic Needs education fund. The cost of the school remains confidential.

Ward councillors were today emailed the location of the new school, and heads, governors and parents were due to be notified of the next 24 hours.

The choice of school site comes after many months of research involving Bradford Council officers and ward councillors to assess several potential sites in the Silsden area.

It is as yet unknown where the entrance to the school will be located, but there are potential access points on two sides, from Middleway/Aireville Mount and Banklands Lane/Hawber Cote Lane.

Several months ago Bradford Council unveiled plans for the two existing schools to merge into one primary school in September 2017.

The new ‘Hothfield Primary School’ will continue to use the two existing sites – in the centre of Silsden – until the new campuses built.

The council has earmarked Silsden for 1,200 new houses over the next 15 years as part of its Local Plan, and planning applications have been submitted in recent months for several hundred houses on various sites across the town.

Posted in Development, Infrastructure, Local Development Framework, Neighbourhood Plan, News, Schools

Affordable Housing Cut in Silsden and Steeton?

From an article published in the Keighley News


A housing developer wants to cut the amount of planned social housing in Eastburn by a third.

Bid to slash affordable housing in Eastburn prompts call for policy review.

Miller Homes will today ask Bradford Council to reduce the number of affordable houses earmarked for its 147-home estate from 29 to 20.

The application, for the site off Main Road next to Airedale Hospital, has prompted a ward councillor to call for a review of the council’s social housing strategy.


Craven ward councillor Adrian Naylor said Miller Homes’s request highlighted a serious problem that could affect future efforts to increase the amount of affordable housing in villages across the district.

He says many social landlords, such as housing associations, cannot afford to take on such properties because the Government’s rent cap limits how much they can charge tenants.

Developers of major housing projects are expected to build a certain proportion of affordable housing, as part of their section 106 contributions to local services.

The homes are often sold at a reduced price to a social landlord, who will then rent them to young people who have grown up in the villages or work locally but cannot afford market prices to buy homes.

The problem, according to Cllr Naylor, is that banks will not lend social landlords money to buy the houses because the subsequent rents would not cover the loan repayments.

A report due to be discussed today by Bradford’s regulatory and appeals committee states that Miller Homes approached 15 ‘registered providers’ but not one was willing to take on 29 affordable homes.

One has offered to pay £1.56 million for 20 of the units, a mix of two and three-bedroom homes, which could then be offered for rent or shared ownership.

Housing officers regard the offer as “well-founded and justified”, taking into account the significant financial constraints being experienced by registered providers in the current climate.

Cllr Naylor said: “If the economy is causing social landlords not to be able to build properties in the more expensive areas, then we need an urgent review of Bradford Council’s social housing policy.

“We could end up seeing areas such as Silsden, Steeton and Eastburn having a high number of executive homes, but no affordable homes to go with them.

“Young people will lose the ability to live where they were born and bred, or work. This could be a problem for years to come.”


Posted in Development, LDF, Local Development Framework, News

How will town cope?

The figure of 1,200 new homes would mean an average of two cars per house, going on for 2,400 more vehicles hitting the village/town. Plus there will be cars that visit these houses.

2Lorries_KirkgateSilsden cannot cope at the moment with the volume of traffic. At the first sign of any roadworks, traffic lights are put in place and chaos ensues, with vehicles right back to the roundabout and up towards Cringles. Even without any roadworks, at peak times the main street is gridlocked. Before any new building, a by-pass – mentioned in the last unitary plan – is needed.

Where are all these new vehicles going to park in Silsden? There are only two small car parks now, which are always full.

Besides the roads, the other major infrastructures can’t cope with the increase in housing.

If only 100 new houses were built, the electricity company would have to increase the size of its substation and the Aire Valley trunk sewer is at its capacity. Schools are at bursting point. Where are the new children that come into the area going to go?

Silsden now has no banks, with the closure during the past three years of the two we had.

The health centre can’t cope with the current population. We have lived here more than 25 years and have to go to Cross Hills, as you cannot join here. It is the same with the dentist.

Airedale Hospital struggles with the volume of people that attend now. How is it going to manage with not just the new people that will be living in Silsden, but with all the extra people coming into the area with all the new plans for more houses in the Keighley and Craven areas and over the border in Lancashire? The hospital will struggle with the thousands that will bring.

There is no police station in Silsden, which is stupid for the size of the town as it is now, never mind any increase.

We keep hearing that Silsden is great for commuters, with the railway station nearby. Unless you are there by 6.30am to 7am, you have no chance of parking. Where are the new commuters going to park?

During the past 12 months, we have seen new buildings going up in Silsden, for example behind the old Grouse pub, just above the builders’ yard, above the playing fields and on other plots of land, and plans are in for more than 180 new houses in Belton Road. I hope these are included in the 1,200.

All the new houses nowadays are the ugly three-storey type. People are living longer, so why are there no bungalows being built so the older generation can move into them?

It looks like we are going to lose more greenbelt, resulting in damage to trees, hedgerows and wildlife. Yet in the Keighley and Bradford area, there are plenty of brownfield sites that could be developed.

I think the points mentioned show that before any further building goes on in Silsden, the infrastructure needs looking at.


Posted in Facilities, Infrastructure, Local Development Framework, News, Schools

Neighbourhood Plan Consultation Survey


The draft plan

The questionnaire (pdf)

The questionnaire  (docx)

If you are interested in how the plan is taken forward, please help the local Working Group by printing, completing and posting your questionnaire to: Rosie Sanderson, Clerk to Steeton-with-Eastburn Parish Council, 35 Kings Mill Lane, Settle, N. Yorks, BD24 9FD. You can also save the document to your own computer, fill in your responses and then email the completed version to clerk@steeton-with-eastburnparishcouncil.gov.uk.

Please return by end May 2016.

If you prefer, you can pick up a hard copy of the questionnaire from Post Offices in Steeton, Eastburn and Silsden, where you can also obtain a hardcopy of the draft plan. If you are unable to travel and do not have access to a printer you can request a hard copy of the questionnaire and/or plan by emailing: clerk@steeton-with-eastburnparishcouncil.gov.uk

Later in 2016 there will be a further, formal consultation period.



Posted in Neighbourhood Plan, News

The Trouble with the Bell Square Junction – the blind spot

The following sequence of pictures were taken from the viewpoint of a saloon car car driver exiting right from Bell Square onto Bolton Road. (Look out for the Landrover and the blue car circled in yellow)

The blind spot does not exist if the driving position is higher eg a 4 x 4.

Further back from the junction, traffic can be seen through the gap in the wall but at the point the pictures are taken the gap is not visible and oncoming cars disappear.

Please click on the first picture for more detail.

Turning right from Bell Square, as drivers approach the GIVE WAY line they tend to look left to see if there is a gap in the traffic coming down Bolton Road. Seeing a gap, and believing the road to be clear from the right they pull out and BANG!


Posted in Infrastructure, News, Pictures

Silsden residents to take over youth centre and children’s centre


8:55am Tuesday 29th March 2016

By Herald reporter


A group of Silsden residents this week expected to sign a deal with Bradford Council to take over the town’s threatened youth centre.

The short-term tenancy agreement, to run the building in Elliott Street, will also cover the adjacent children’s centre.

The agreement will mean existing activities, including a youth club, playgroups and child health sessions, can continue for at least the next few months. This will give the residents time to draw up a detailed business plan showing how they would manage and maintain the building in the long-term.

Volunteers formed a public-interest company this month to oversee the project.

Silsden town councillor, Jill Cook, who is spearheading the project, said the team had successfully completed ‘stage one’ with Bradford Council. This means the council is confident enough in the Silsden team – which includes people with project management and finance experience – to hand over the keys.

Cllr Cook added:

“It’s given us some breathing space for stage two.

“There’s a lot of work to do, including business plans and feasibility studies.

“We had to give the council an indication of what we plan to do with the centres. We want to generate income as well because the building has to be self-sustaining.

“We have a lot of interested parties willing to run things, including a martial arts group, nursery and childminders. We’ve already met with people who have good ideas.

“Youth Services will continue to run activities but didn’t have anything in its budget to pay for the venue. We’d like to expand on what Youth Services does so young adults have somewhere to go.

The aim is to eventually sign a 25-year lease with the council to run the building.

Cllr Cook said it made sense to take on responsibility for both buildings now because, although the children centre is not currently under threat, the situation might change if the council makes further spending cuts in future years.

Residents also hope to take responsibility for the floodlit multi-use games area next to the youth centre.

Councillor Adrian Naylor, who is supporting the residents’ campaign, said:

“They are very well organised and have a number of committed people prepared to form the nucleus of a committee.

“From what I’ve seen so far, they’ve got a good chance of putting together a proposition that Bradford would accept and would see increased usage of both locations.”


Posted in Activities, Facilities, News, Youth Club

The Silsden Sewer Rats Easter Egg Run – 2016


Posted in Activities, News, Pictures

Plan-It, Bradford’s planning newsletter for Mar 2016


Click to read the newsletter

Posted in B. M. D.C, Development, LDF, Neighbourhood Plan