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From Keighley News, February 1st, 2018
Written by Miran Rahman

Furious campaigners have pledged to fight plans for 130 homes on a prime greenbelt site. Developers want to construct the properties on fields on the southern edge of Keighley. But opponents say so-called brownfield plots should be used rather than green, open spaces. Dozens of residents living close to the site, off Goose Cote Lane, have voiced their opposition. 

And campaign group BANDAG and Keighley MP John Grogan are against the development.

District ward councillor Cath Bacon said nearly 30 householders had already approached her objecting to the plans, which have just been submitted to Bradford Council.

"This is not NIMBY-ism," she said.

"Rules to protect the greenbelt are there for a very good reason.

"I'm not against new housing, but we should be using other available sites first."

She said it was important that opponents of the scheme stated their objections on the basis of planning policy, rather than on emotive grounds, and that she would help objectors make use of relevant parts of the National Planning Policy Framework to support their case.

Mr Grogan said the site was clearly in designated greenbelt and that the Government had advised Bradford Council it should "do all it can" to avoid housing development in such areas.

"This application should be opposed," he added.

"Following the adoption of its local development plan last year, the council is now looking at its so-called site allocation plan for new housing which will go out to consultation.

"In addition, I think it is very likely that the Government will confirm new lower housing target figures for the district within months.

"In all these circumstances, my opinion is that where housing is proposed on the greenbelt, the council has every reason to turn it down."

BANDAG says the Goose Cote Lane plans don't meet with the adopted core strategy and should be "rejected outright".

The group claims the scheme would damage popular footpaths, affect wildlife and habitats around the River Worth and potentially impact on the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway and tourism locally.

Barbara Archer, for BANDAG, added: "There is nothing in the core strategy or in any supporting/underpinning documents that would give grounds for permitting development.

"We assert that there are sufficient derelict brownfield sites that must surely be developed and exhausted first."

A detailed statement accompanying the outline planning application says the development, proposed by GCL, would include 100 homes to be offered at market price as well as 30 "affordable sheltered dwellings".

The agent's statement adds: "There is still a significant shortage of deliverable housing land in the district.

"The scale of the shortfall is caused not just by the availability of land but due to market conditions which remain relatively weak in some areas. This leads to cautious expectations of how quickly sites will be built out.

"The proposed development will provide a significant contribution towards local housing supply."

The development, according to the applicant's agent, would bring benefits to the area that would outweigh any harm caused to the greenbelt.

The agent adds: "The application site is located in a sustainable location adjacent to an existing built-up area of a principal centre of Keighley.

"The development would also create a significant number of new jobs during the construction period and a boost to the local economy.

"There would be further direct economic benefits in terms of additional council tax revenues and the New Homes bonus.

"Regarding environmental considerations, the application site is by default located in the greenbelt but constitutes an infill development and has good non-car accessibility to various services, facilities and public transport and is located in close proximity to existing residential development.

"Any identified harm to the environment can be minimised with a suitable layout that includes ecological mitigation, landscape enhancement and drainage mitigation."