AN ILKLEY man behind the stalled work to build raised flower beds at Station Plaza says he will go through the formal planning process in a bid to complete the project.

Roger Yaxley, 78, was forced to stop building after being hit with enforcement action by Bradford Council, who said he did not have the necessary permissions.

Ilkley's MP John Grogan stepped in to host a meeting on Friday between interested parties to try and find a way forward.

Mr Yaxley said: "I felt the meeting went very well. There was support for me, there is no doubt because it is a good idea."

The retired publisher maintains he had written permission to start the work. "I turned to the council to ask for advice about the process I should follow to get the improvements done and at a meeting I was clearly instructed to 'get on with it' so I did," he said. "I found a mason, had drawings made, got a fully qualified arborist to advise on the trees, talked with people, paid for the materials and labour myself and 'got on with it'.

"It seems one bit of the Council (highways) doesn’t agree with the other (planning). So, I now need to go through a full planning process to improve the raised beds, build some seating, cover the large exposed tree roots with soil and ultimately plant them up so that they don’t look as tatty."

Mr Yaxley added: "John Grogan MP has been of great help and seems thoroughly supportive of the venture. I’d like to publicly thank him and his role as peacemaker. I am satisfied we will be able to come to a mutual agreement with all parties then we can all move forward and work together, to improve the plaza.

"I have offered to finish the flower bed within the month, so as not in inconvenience the public any longer than necessary. But unfortunately, the powers that be have decided it is better to leave the flowerbed half-finished and fenced off. So, I’ll be the bigger man and apologise on their behalf for the inconvenience of this work taking months rather than weeks."

Mr Grogan said: "I met Mr Yaxley with representatives of Ilkley Civic Society, Ilkley Business Improvement District as well as town and district councillors. Ilkley in Bloom and representatives of the Station Plaza sent apologies but wrote to me with their views.

"Without exception everyone said that Mr Yaxley had some great ideas but also expressed the hope that he would work collaboratively with other organisations in the town. Basic questions like who would maintain any new features in front of the station plaza needed to be worked out.

"A comprehensive planning application for all the work Mr Yaxley intended to do on the station plaza was thought to be the best way forward so that all interested parties could comment in the normal way."

A Bradford Council spokesperson said: “Planning permission is needed for the Station Road Plaza works and we will continue to work with Mr Yaxley and our partners to ensure the area is improved in a sensible and careful manner.

“Any works on or near roads needs to be co-ordinated with our highways team and we are working with Mr Yaxley to ensure the site is fenced off and safe for pedestrians.

“Station Plaza is within a conservation area, has protected trees and is the forecourt of a listed building.

“We welcome community projects which aim to improve public spaces but it is important that people, however well-meaning, follow planning regulations.”