Sunday, 12 June 2011

This is my 3 page objection letter sent to Bradford Planning Department

Planning Application No 11/01203/MAO
Relating to the Construction of some 400 dwellings; replacement vehicular and pedestrian swing bridge over the Leeds/Liverpool canal, provision of new accesses off Sty Lane and Micklethwaite Lane, emergency and limited access off Oakwood Drive, pedestrian and cycle access to Fairfax Road, off site highway improvements, laying out of public open space and landscaping and so on.
I wish to raise strong objections to this planning application by Redrow and Bellway Homes for these reasons:
1.     The road infrastructure in the surrounding lanes cannot possibly cope with a huge increase in traffic the addition of over 400 houses will generate.   As it is at present,
o    In parts two small cars cannot pass each other safely without one mounting the pavement and there are already many large cars, delivery and service vans using these lanes. 
o    There is considerable traffic build-up and congestion backing upwards from the swing bridge at Micklethwaite wharf to Sty Lane etc and downward toward the main Keighley road whenever the bridge a) opens and b) breaks down – both frequent occurrences.  The swing bridge can open once every 15 minutes to allow boats passage on the canal during high season .
o    Both Sty Lane and Micklethwaite Lane/Carr Lane have hairpin bends and 1in4 gradient hills and are inaccessible in bad weather.

2.     The traffic generated by this proposed development could well be 800+ additional cars plus delivery and service vehicles – the road structure could not cope with this.
3.     Furthermore, the proposal to make Micklethwaite Lane to Sty Lane one-way going up and Sty Lane one-way going down will only increase pressure on adjacent roads such as Lady Lane, Carr Lane into Otley Road and increase traffic into Bingley at busy times such as for school runs.  The school at Lady Lane in particular will create unacceptable amounts of traffic in Bingley at times that are already severely congested.  Their other option would be to chance the 1in 4 gradient and hairpin bends on narrow lanes up through Micklethwaite to a dangerous and badly sighted junction onto Otley Road.  The road above Micklethwaite is particularly narrow in parts.
4.     The increase in traffic through Micklethwaite would be unacceptable.  The lanes are very narrow with several bends and poor line of sight plus a very bad hairpin bend.  Buses and HGV Lorries attempting to go up or down this part, (following their Sat Nav instructions) frequently get stuck resulting in closure of the road for long periods of time while they are recovered.  The walls on several of my neighbour’s properties here in Micklethwaite are frequently damaged due to existing traffic to say nothing of the damage to cars and vans.
5.     The developers have proposed a two-lane swing bridge to replace the existing one-lane bridge.  It is my understanding that such a bridge has yet to be designed.  There are no existing two-lane swing bridges in the UK at this time. 
6.     Even if such a bridge design existed, the proposed dimensions would not serve the increasing number of vehicles in this area causing huge delays.  With another 1000+ possible vehicles, back-up traffic will go back onto the main road from Bingley to Keighley and upwards into the estate and beyond at peak times. 
7.     It is doubtful the proposed bridge is actually two-lane.  The proposed width is only 4.8 meters while the normal width would be 5.5 meters or more.  In effect this means that only two very small cars would be able to pass each other and then only with care.  
8.     The bridge will be closed frequently to allow canal traffic to pass, for planned maintenance and breakdowns.
9.     A bridge of the proposed size will also take considerably longer to open and close increasing traffic build-up and congestion.
10.  To create an approach to this bridge will involve the demolition of what is thought to be lime kilns on the south side of the canal, thus destroying part of the community heritage.
11.  This development will increase danger to pedestrians in the area.  At present only Micklethwaite Lane had any pedestrian pavement and that is not of regulation width.  Pedestrians are already at risk from passing cars when there are two cars or a car and a van trying to pass each other on narrow sections.  Some people have been hit by wing-mirrors.  There is no pedestrian pavement on Sty Lane.  Children in particular are at risk here going to and from school which is why many parents use a car to take them thus increasing traffic.
12.  There are insufficient amenities for a development of this size.
a.     Schools within the area are oversubscribed: there are NO places available for another say 800 children.  The primary school near the site is being demolished as we speak.
b.    The only shops in the area are 1 chip shop, 1 butcher, 2 hair dressers, 1 newsagent, 1 baker, 1 pharmacy, 1 funeral home, 1 small post office, 1 Indian and 1 Chinese take-away.  There are no grocery shops within walking distance.
c.     The commuter trains are already full to capacity at peak times and Metro has expressed their concern in this regard.  They feel unable to put on more carriages to cope with the proposed increase in use. 
d.    Besides which, it is not certain people on this estate will be willing to use limited public transport.  Realistically, most will rely on their own cars.
e.     There is no parking at Crossflatts station and in reality, people will not walk to it.
13.  The area is enjoyed by local residents and visitors and is an important amenity in this area.  The proposed development will cause irreparable damage to the attractive landscape and visual character of the area.
14.  This site enjoys a rich variety of wildlife that is at present enjoyed by local residents and also brings visitors to the area.  This is the only chance many of these people, particularly children, have of seeing domestic animals and wildlife this close.  One 30 year-old man from Keighley that I met along the tow path recently told me neither he nor his children had even seen cows this close.  They were enthralled by their behaviour and with the thrill of feeding the birds in this locality. 
15.  This is a rare readily accessible area for studying bird behaviour in the wild.  I myself study bird behaviour here and a slide show of what we and future generations will be deprived of, should this development go ahead, can be seen in a short article I wrote at -  This includes a short slide show which the Board would do well to watch.
16.  It is my understanding that this development will cause irreparable damage to the archaeology and cultural heritage of the area as can be seen in the book on Micklethwaite presently in publication.
17.  The development will remove habitat for a rich diversity of wildlife.  In particular damage to the hedge rows, presently used as navigation by Continental Bats and as habitat for the wildlife, is inevitable even under the proposed design.  They must by necessity be broken through for access throughout the site.   There are also a number of trees at threat and I wonder if there is an existing Tree Preservation Order on any of them. 
18.  This development will curtain many of the current pleasurable amenity aspects of the canal-side environment and for those using the canal itself.
19.  It is my understanding that the development could take up to 10 years to complete.  The upheaval and damage caused by construction equipment to existing roads and lanes will be excessive and has not been properly considered.
o    The proposal is to access the site for construction via Oakwood Drive.  This in inherently flawed because 
o    The visibility at the junction of Oakwood Drive and Lady Lane is in adequate and substandard as required by the Manual for Streets recommendations.
o    The design of the part-time signals proposed at Oakwood Drive/Lady Lane is inherently flawed from a safety aspect i.e. restricted footway facilities and an increased level of exposure resulting in consequential accidents/collisions involving pedestrians.  In recent weeks temporary lights at this junction have created havoc. 
o    Oakwood Drive is designed for a maximum of 200 dwellings (as demonstrated by the applicant’s additional 22 units). It is NOT suitable for construction traffic or for traffic generated by additional housing.  This also takes account of the existing traffic from Airedale Mills and Micklethwaite in an emergency situation.

o    Access to the site from Oakwood Drive depends on gaining control of privately owned land at the northern end of the development. The applicant has not demonstrated that he has acquired control over this land.

20.  Covering the present 40 acre Greenfield site will decrease water going into the water table and increase the risk of flooding.  It has not been sufficiently demonstrated that provision will be made for this.  The Board should look at existing examples of places where increasing coverage of Greenfield sites has resulted in severe flooding.  Our own Bingley by-pass is an example.
21.  It has not been sufficiently demonstrated that adequate provision for sewage disposal can be created for this site.
22.  It has not been adequately demonstrated that there is a need for such housing in this area.                            It is my understanding there is presently existing outline planning permission for some 1500 homes in this area that have not been built.
There are many areas of brown-field sites that could be developed leaving green breathing spaces alone.
There are many unoccupied flats and houses in Bradford and district that cannot be rented or sold.  These could be renovated instead especially since many people would prefer to stay within their own neighbourhood and the facilities offered there.
Many houses and flats in the locality are lying empty.
23.  The proposal to build a pedestrian footbridge at the top of Canal Road is inherently flawed, largely because the developers do not have canal-side access at this point.  That land is presently occupied by the Boat Club so unless they propose a huge flyover over their land, it is hard to see how it might be achieved.
24.  This forms a valuable Breathing Space within a growing urban landscape. 
I would be grateful if the Planning Department would take these objections under consideration. 
I would appreciate a receipt for this letter.  Many thanks.
Yours faithfully,

Ann Mackie Miller, MA(hons), RGN, RCM,


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