Ilkley District Councillors Kyle Green (Con) and Anne Hawkesworth (Ind) were joined by Ilkley's MP Robbie Moore and over 100 concerned residents at an online town meeting organised to discuss the emerging local plan proposed by Bradford Council.
The draft local plan proposes over 300 houses to be built in Ilkley and Ben Rhydding, including on three Green Belt sites. With both councillors having been left horrified by the local plans and having been contacted by many residents wanting to know more, the councillors quickly organised a Zoom meeting to gather feedback on the plans and to help provide more information to those attending about the current issues surrounding the plans. Residents attending the meeting raised a huge number of concerns over transport links, pressures on infrastructure, increased flooding risks, as well as ideas for how the land could be better used by the council. There was no support voiced for the plans at the meeting. Speaking about the meeting and the feedback, District Councillor Kyle Green stated: "The feedback at this meeting shows the strength of opposition to these plans and that they need to be taken back to the drawing board. It is farcical that Bradford Council is happy to allow urban sprawl by decimating the green belt around Ilkley, opening the door to further developments in the future by doing so. Our green belt provides a huge number of amazing benefits and residents have provided so many well articulated and important points about why this plan is terrible. I sincerely hope that as many residents as possible can take part in the consultation and I know that over 300 people have already signed a petition opposing these plans. Finally, it is simply unacceptable that the council is doing a consultation at a time during which the only easy way to take part is online, providing challenges for a number of residents who may feel less confident or unable to access the internet." Councillor Anne Hawkesworth added, "The big message we wanted to get over to those attending the Zoom is we cannot do it for you. You the residents have to play your part. I felt encouraged and hopeful after the meeting because there was so much real concern. This is not just a NIMBY concern as clearly many realise and feel just how important particularly the Gateway site at Coutances way was to the overall visitor package to Ilkley. It is this most iconic dramatic and spectacular entrance we must retain.
At the last attempt to develop it I received an email from a professional which said “This is a nightmare site which for many reasons should be avoided"" Robbie Moore MP commented, “It was great to see so many residents engaging with this meeting. Thank you to Cllrs Kyle Green and Anne Hawkesworth for allowing residents to air their views in such a way. This really shows Bradford Council that we will not roll over and allow them to destroy our precious green belt. It is vital that as many people as possible make their views known to the council via the consultation. I too share concerns with the way in which the consultation is being run. I have raised this with the Council asking them to extend the deadline for submissions and to allow residents to respond by post. There are many residents who are unable to respond digitally and they need to be catered for to ensure that this process is as open and transparent as possible.”
For those wishing to find out more about the plans please contact the district councillors [email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org] or Robbie Moore MP [robbiemoore.org.uk] and they will be happy to assist.
All three hope that as many people can take part in the consultation by emailing their views to email@example.com, take part online in the consultation at https://bradford.oc2.uk/document/20 or send their views to: Local Plan Team, 4th Floor Britannia House, Broadway, Bradford, BD1 1HX
The consultation closes on 24 March 2021.
An online petition 'Protect Ilkley’s green belt' has been started at https://bradford.moderngov.co.uk/mgEPetitionDisplay.aspx?ID=292