The parishes of Steeton and Eastburn together with Silsden have agreed to draw up a joint Neighbourhood Plan.
What is a Neighbourhood Plan?
This is a plan which carries statutory weight as this type of plan is created by .
The purpose of such a plan is to give the people at a local parish level some degree of control over where and how developments take place within the parish. However, a Neighbourhood Plan cannot prevent or overrule the planning policies of the relevant Planning Authority. In this case the relevant Authority is Bradford MBC. The purpose of the Neighbourhood Plan is to give an expression to local views and wishes about any planned development. The Planning Authority must then take those views into account before making any final decision. The major example is in relation to new housing developments. These developments cannot be prevented but the parish can say where these new houses should be built. The parish can also express its opinion on what other services or facilities may be needed in consequence of such new houses being built.
The Core Strategy
The overall planning strategy for the entire Bradford MBC area is called the Local Development Framework (known most commonly as “LDF”). Bradford Planning Department is now in the process of updating the LDF. A most important component of the LDF is the Core Strategy. This document sets out how the Planning Authority envisages the future of individual areas within the total MBC region for the next 15 years.
In the case of the two parishes they are both contained within one of the sub-areas under the heading of “Airedale”. This sub area includes not only the two parishes but also Keighley, Bingley and other local settlements. There are different visions for each separate settlement wthin the Airedale area. Here we are concentrating on the two parishes.
The core strategy sets out the Planning Authorities proposals not only for new housing but also for the local economy and transport. The main implications for Silsden, Steeton and Eastburn are set out below.
The Airedale area is due to absorb 8350 new houses by 2030. The majority (4500) will be absorbed by Keighley. Silsden is due to absorb 1000 new homes with Steeton and Eastburn taking 700 new homes. It should be made clear that these new houses will be in addition to new housing estates presently in the course of construction (such as on Thornhill Road in Steeton). You may find it helpful to know that recommended density for new housing is 60 units per hectare. A hectare is approximately 2.5 acres. The density can be varied according to the purpose of the site. In other words family homes will have a lower density than single occupant dwellings by way of example.
In the Airedale corridor it is intended to expand commercial land use by approximately 30 hectares. In Silsden there is a plan to develop the Silsden Rural Business Park. In Steeton and Eastburn the plan is to improve employment by the existing major employers in Health and Education
The Planning Authority recognises that transport is a key part of any changes and improvement to both parishes. It is further recognised that the railway station is of particular importance. The core strategy declares that pedestrian and cycle links to the station will be improved. There is also an intention to promote the interchange of train and bus services with the possibility of a bus station being constructed near the rail station.
The importance of the River Aire and the Leeds Liverpool Canal are both recognised. Their significance is in terms not only of leisure activities but also for their role in providing bio-diversity and also in terms of managing flood risk.
Eventual Outcomes anticipated in the Bradford Core Strategy
The outcome for Steeton and Eastburn is that it remains a village “full of character” with high quality new housing and some modest commercial improvement. The improved transport links are specifically emphasised.
The outcome for Silsden is that it becomes “an important small town” by way of the development of the Rural Business Park and improved local transport links. Silsden is intended to become a “desirable” location with investment in local schools.
Where are we now?
The Core Strategy has already been the subject of local public consultation.
Our Neighbourhood Plan has to be seen in the context of the Core Strategy as it is set out above. It is an essential precondition of any Neighbourhood Plan that local opinion has been taken as fully as possible. It is for this reason that the two Parish Councils have set up this Open Day (which will take place separately in each parish) and are asking parishioners to complete the Questionnaires which will be available at the events and online at www.silsden.net and www.steeton-with-eastburnparishcouncil.gov Please note that although we are asking for a certain amount of individualised information (such as age and gender) this is NOT to identify any individuals but to ensure that we have obtained a cross section of responses from our community as a whole.
You will also find a map of Silsden, Steeton and Eastburn attached to each questionnaire. We hope that you will use the map to clearly indicate your responses to certain questions. You will need to identify clearly the information you are putting on the map. The use of the map is not compulsory but merely helpful.