Bradford Council propose 300 new homes on Green Belt in Ilkley

Bradford council have proposed four sites in Ilkley for development of 314 houses as part of their home building strategy, that would be in place until 2038. There is significant concern among the residents of Ilkley and the surrounding areas about these plans.

The deadline for objections to this consultation is the 24th March, and so it is key to speak out now. Bradford council are no longer accepting objections, and the consultation period has closed. We now advise you to contact your local MP (Robbie Moore for Ilkley) to make clear any objections to the plan. If sites are included in the final local plan, it is hard for planning permission to then be refused in the future.

Given the tight deadline and online only consultation, Bradford council have made it hard to object – however here we aim to simplify this for you.

Proposal Summary

The Summary: 314 homes, 97% of them built on green belt land

Bradford council are proposing to build 314 homes across four sites in Ilkey. The majority of these are proposed in two large sites in fields on the edge of Ben Rhydding.

The ‘Coutances Way’ (IL3/H) site is spread over the fields on the left as you approach Ilkely from Burley-in-Wharfedale, opposite the sport club. 155 homes are proposed here.

‘Wheatley grove’ (IL1/H) is a field off Ben Rhydding drive, leading onto Ilkley Moor. 130 homes are proposed for this site.

‘Skipton Road East’ (IL2/H) is land to the West of ilkley, adjacent to the old train line. 20 Homes are proposed.

‘Stockheld Road’ (IL4/H) is a site across from the Old Packhorse bridge, by Ilkley park. 9 homes have been earmarked in this location.

How Can I Object?

Objections can be made online or via email. Given the convoluted process for objecting online, we recommend objecting via email.

Objections should be made to : referencing sites IL1/H, IL2/H, IL3/H, and IL4/H

You should include your name and address in any objection, as this makes your objection more specific, and is requested as part of the consultation.

If you wish to object online, you can do so here – note if you do so, you need to object individually for each proposed development:

You can also contact your MP – Robbie Moore for Ilkley. Robbie has spoken out of his concerns regarding these proposals and will be publishing his significant objections. As the official consultation has closed, we would advise you to contact Robbie, who can continue to press Bradford council to improve their plan.

Reasons for objections

It can be hard to know how to object in a way that will be effective. Below is a list of concerns regarding the proposed sites for consideration.

To make the most impact:

  • Write these in your own words (try not to copy and paste)
  • Provide any photos or other evidence to back them up
  • Be factual – try to refer to evidence and fact
  • Cover all the areas that concern you – don’t get bogged down in one topic

Green BeltThe three biggest sites – 97% of homes – are in green belt land. The council have not given any significant justification as to why they have proposed green belt land, especially given the number of brownfield sites available in the Bradford district. In the overall Bradford plan, this figure is only 20%, showing a hugely disproportionate value against Ilkley.

Even the council’s own proposals recognise this is an issue – it states ‘Ilkley is set within a scenic and sensitive natural landscape’, and rates the three sites as either having moderate or major impact on the green belt.

These developments, especially in conjunction with those proposed in Addingham and Burley, would significantly reduce the separation between the towns and create a ‘Wharfedale corridor’ of development.

Character The proposals would significantly change the character of the town and the surround areas. The ‘Coutances Way’ site is especially damaging here, as it would remove the small number of fields between Burley and Ilkely.

Flooding – Three sites have significant existing flooding risks, and development of this land would further exacerbate issues on the surrounding areas.

  • Wheatley Grove and Coutances Way sites are significant sinks of rainwater, delaying the flow of water through Ilkley and local housing. The areas are regularly sodden and have springs appear.
  • All four sites have flood risks of 2 & 3 either on the land or on the boundary, meaning they are expected to have significant river and surface flooding.
  • Climate change is only likely to increase these risks

Environment – Ilkley’s character is defined by it’s natural setting amongst the countryside, and these proposals go completely against the defined local plan to protect the local environment.

  • Ilkley moor is an SSSI, and the Wheatley Grove site is only 350m from the moor, and falls within the buffer zone for this. Development should specifically be avoided in these areas.
  • Coutances Way is a nationally significant area of Curlew feeding
  • Both Wheatley Grove and Coutances Way provide wildlife corridors and significant habitat for wildlife. They have mature trees and a number of Tree Protection Orders / Woodland protection, due to the nature of the land.
  • Ben Rhydding and Ilkley sewage sites are already unable to deal with the capacity required, and regularly overflow their storm surge capacity.

School Capacity – Ilkley Grammar is the only publicly accessible secondary school in the area, and is already operating at capacity. It is unable to expand any further, and has already had to limit the catchment area in order to manage numbers.

No additional secondary school capacity has been proposed for any local areas – Addingham and Burley both have significant proposed developments as well.

The only potential solution from Bradford council would be bus children a significant distance to neighbouring areas, such as Keighley, which is neither a viable long term solution or fair to those falling slightly outside any new catchment areas.

Road Safety – The two main sites in Ben Rhydding will directly and significantly increase traffic through the Wheatley Road train bridge and the junction with valley drive. These are two areas of congestion and are already at high risk of accidents. No traffic assessment has been carried out on these areas.

Additional Building – The proposal fails to take into account both the developments that have been taking place, and are planned in Ilkley– approximately 30 houses per year have been built for the last few years.

What else can I do?

Time is extremely limited – so the best thing to do is to ensure you object urgently, and encourage everyone you know to do so. Every objection makes the case stronger!

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Attribution – header image “ilkley moor” by tricky (rick harrison) is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0