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Bird species could stall development
A study of moorland wildlife on land around Ilkley could block excessive house building in the town, says a ward councillor.
Bradford District councillor Anne Hawkesworth (Ind, Ilkley) is calling for an assessment of land which supports populations of protected moorland species to be made public before the draft Core Strategy of Bradford Council’s Local Plan goes before its Executive in November.
Planning regulations require assessments to be carried out on the potential impact of new housing around European-designated Special Protection Areas (SPAs).
Bradford Council has been carrying out a study looking at the importance of land close to Ilkley Moor which may be crucial in supporting populations of protected moorland bird species.
Councillor Hawkesworth, who has been campaigning for the protection of Green Belt land in Ilkley, believes the findings of the study could block potential building in sites in the area.
She says the rules apply within a two to five kilometre radius of the sensitive moorland habitats – and the issue is a material consideration in the planning process.
Coun Hawkesworth said: “This could be good planning grounds to stop excessive development here in the valley abutting the European Designated moorland (Rombalds Moor). To ignore such directives could be highly challengeable.”
Land availability assessments produced by Bradford Council, ahead of the Local Plan – which will govern local development until 2028 – indicate Green Belt land around Ilkley, and elsewhere in Wharfedale, could end up earmarked for housing.
And the last Core Strategy Development Plan Document in 2011, under development for the Local Plan, indicated 1,300 new homes should be built in Ilkley over the period, as part of a Bradford district-wide 45,000 home target.
But if evidence is found of protected moorland bird species feeding on land to the south of Ben Rhydding, and on land at Coutances Way, it may stand in the way of large building developments, it is believed.
Bradford Council Planning and Transport Strategy Manager, Andrew Marshall, who is working on the forthcoming Local Plan, confirmed the study was in progress, and the resulting report is set to go to the Council’s Executive when it considers taking forward the next Core Strategy publication draft on November 19.
“We’ve been doing a habitat survey and also been doing some work looking at where the birds actually are,” he said.
If approved by the Executive, the Core Strategy publication draft will be considered by the full council on December 10, prior to formal publication for public representations early in the New Year.
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