Ilkley residents are being urged to have their say on plans for 800 homes in the town, as public consultation finally gets under way on the Core Strategy of Bradford Council’s Local Plan.
Campaigners are calling on residents to have their say now, fearing the influx of housing will overload the local infrastructure and swallow up the countryside.
The six-week consultation period began on Monday, inviting formal representations from the public and other stakeholders.
Bradford Council is in the process of preparing its Local Plan, which will set out its approach to managing development and change until 2030.
The Core Strategy sets the broad policies that determine future use of land for housing, employment, retail, health and well-being, education, leisure, transport, and infrastructure purposes.
It proposes housing targets of 800 homes in Ilkley, 200 in Addingham, 200 in Burley-in-Wharfedale and 400 in Menston.
Following its approval by full Council in December, this is the last opportunity to comment on the plan before it is sent to the Government for independent scrutiny.
Ilkley Civic Society is among those calling on residents to speak out now before it is too late.
The Society said: “For many years this rural setting has been protected by Green Belt legislation, but the Council is now saying that it needs to build houses on the rural edges of Ilkley in order to meet the growing population needs of the district. If we wish to retain Ilkley’s countryside, and avoid urban sprawl, we all need to say so now.”
A councillors’ drop-in session will be held at Ilkley Town Hall between 10am and 11am on Saturday, March 1, to assist residents. Civic Society representatives will be there to help.
Ward councillor and chairman of Wharfedale Planning Action Group, Anne Hawkesworth (Ind, Ilkley), said: “We have been awaiting this critical phase. At this point I am putting out a call for anyone with planning expertise who has concerns about overdevelopment to come forward.
“The plan has to be challenged on soundness.”
The Core Strategy: Publication Draft (2014) and associated documents are available to download at: bradford.gov.uk/LDF.
Representations must be made in writing and are strongly encouraged to be submitted electronically on the e-mail to: ldf. firstname.lastname@example.org. uk or by post to: Local Plan Group, City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council, 2nd Floor South Jacobs Well, Nelson Street, Bradford BD1 5RW.