Too few Ilkley people may be taking the opportunity to have their say on the draft Core Strategy of Bradford Council’s Local Plan, a local councillor fears.
Ilkley parish councillor, Paul Kitching, found just 62 responses had been collected at Ilkley Town Hall last week and expressed disappointment with the amount of public comments so far from the area.
Councillor Kitching has been a key local figure in raising awareness of the Local Plan and what it could mean for Ilkley as well as working with the parish council to spread the word about consultation on the previous draft of the Core Strategy, and Strategic Housing Land Allocation Assessments published by Bradford Council.
Although the Council is not currently consulting on specific designations of plots of land across the district, Coun Kitching has been keen to publicise the studies, which highlight areas of land potentially suitable for housing, business development, areas of current Green Belt land, and plots likely to be unsuitable or unavailable for development.
Coun Kitching was also a key figure in the Ilkley Future Group, a group of local experts in various fields brought together to discuss the town’s infrastructure and expected needs, before work starts on the production of a Neighbourhood Plan – which could give the community greater say in allocation of facilities and determination of local planning applications.
But Coun Kitching says he is disappointed with the low number of responses at Ilkley Town Hall to Bradford Council’s Core Strategy consultation.
He said: “I’m extremely disappointed and I think the people of Ilkley can do better than that.”
Not all of the consultation is carried out via the Town Hall, however, and it is unclear how many Wharfedale residents have taken advantage of Bradford Council’s online consultation forms, or sent responses by e-mail.
Bradford Council says it cannot currently tell how many comments in total submitted so far relate to Ilkley. But the Council stressed weight is placed on the number of representations received, but rather the issues raised.
Core Strategy: What you need to know
Residents of the Ilkley area have less than a fortnight to have their say on the proposed central part of a development blueprint set to shape the future of the Bradford district.
Bradford Council is holding a public consultation on the Publication Draft Core Strategy – a significant document at the heart of the Local Plan.
When adopted, this document will be at the heart of a planning and development blueprint which will influence where housing and business premises can be build over the next 15 to 20 years.
Public consultation draws to a close on March 31.
The Council will collate all written representations it receives and prepare the Core Strategy for submission to the Secretary of State for examination by an independent planning inspector.
The overall Local Plan will be used as the basis for determining future planning applications.
The Core Strategy itself sets out broad policies for guiding and restraining development, broad locations for new housing, employment and infrastructure investment.
It takes into account existing national and regional planning policies.
Although the Core Strategy itself does not formally earmark land for development, it does set out housing targets for the area.
It suggests a total of 42,100 new homes are needed in the Bradford District by 2030.
Of these, it proposes housing targets of 800 for Ilkley, 200 each in Addingham and Burley-in-Wharfedale, and 400 in Menston.
These are significant reductions on previous figures put out in a previous draft of the Core Strategy. The reduction has been attributed to an EC habitats directive restricting building on areas which may be vital habitat to moorland wildlife species.
Actual land designations, setting out what land will be officially designated building land, and the boundaries of the Green Belt, are expected to take place at a later stage of the Local Plan’s formulation – possibly this summer.
However, Strategy Housing Land Allocation Assessments (SHLAAs), which can be viewed along with the full details of the Publication Draft Core Strategy, show local plots of land which had been considered for housing, business development, and indeed some land ruled as unsuitable or unavailable for housing in the near future.
This is based on research by Council planning officers, and sites suggested by landowners and developers.
Residents’ views are not the only ones that will be taken into account before the strategy is finally agreed.
The views of landowners, businesses, property developers and other organisations must also be studied.
After Bradford Council’s consultation ends, at 5pm on Monday, March 31, the Strategy will be prepared for the Secretary of State for examination by an independent planning inspector.
This examination is a public assessment, which will determine whether or not the Core Strategy is fit to be adopted.
It will consider the Plan’s soundness and is legally compliant with regulations.