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Ben Rhydding action group’s support plea in homes fight
Ben Rhydding residents have challenged ward councillors and Ilkley’s MP about what they are doing to support oppon-ents of a proposed new development.
A residents’ action group recently met amid concerns about proposals for 188 new homes on land between Ben Rhydding Drive and Wheatley Grove.
The land is earmarked as a potential development site in Bradford Council’s planning strategy documents.
But Woodroyd Gardens resident, Norma Scott, says she was “disappointed” no local councillors attended the meeting. She also wrote to Ilkley MP Kris Hopkins asking how he is going to support his constituents.
Mrs Scott cited a recent House of Commons debate, in which Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles, spoke out about the merits of green belt as protection against urban sprawl, and asked why Mr Hopkins was not there to speak up for constituents.
“I would like Mr Hopkins to ask Mr Pickles to explain how the infrastructure is going to cope with this increase in population,” she said.
The initial draft of Bradford Council’s Local Plan Core Strategy suggested 1,300 new houses should be built in Ilkley.
Ward councillor Anne Hawkesworth (Con, Ilkley) said the area’s district councillors were actively supporting the residents of Ilkley campaigning against over-development in the valley, leading the call through the formation of the Wharfedale Alliance group.
Mr Hopkins said it was “crucially important” local people and residents’ groups make their voices heard.
He added: “In a response I received last month from Nick Boles, the Planning Minister, he acknowledged the importance of the green belt as a protection against urban sprawl. He also rightly emphasised the fact councils remain in control of their green belt boundaries, which they can alter in exceptional circumstances.
“But, crucially, this can only happen through the Local Plan process involving consultation with residents and formal examination of the proposal in public.”