Meeting to talk over 800 new homes plans in Ilkley

Wharfedale Observer: Councillor Brian Mann Councillor Brian Mann

Ilkley residents will be given a chance to learn more about plans to build 800 houses in the town at a public meeting in the New Year.

Ilkley Parish Council this week agreed to hold a meeting for townspeople – likely to take place in January – over the proposed Core Strategy of Bradford Council’s Local Plan.

The strategy includes a house-building target of 800 homes in Ilkley by 2029, plus hundreds more in the neighbouring villages.

The Core Strategy is expected to go out to public consultation shortly if the publication draft is agreed by the full Council on Tuesday.

The eventual core strategy agreed will form the backbone of the Bradford District Local Plan, a planning document which act as a rule book for building development across the district until 2029.

Local councillors believe the housing target could be reduced further.

But they have already warned residents that prospective developers may challenge the figures, wanting permission for greater numbers of homes to be built in the sought-after area.

Councillor Brian Mann believes the public meeting could also be a first step in working on a Neighbourhood Plan – a local set of planning rules which could work alongside the Local Plan in shaping development, and set out what improvements are needed to Ilkley’s infrastructure.

Coun Mann said: “The meeting will work as an information-providing and gathering exercise.”

He believes most organisations around the town involved in planning issues fear 800 homes is too much.

He said: “Eight hundred houses is probably unrealistic. Whether that’s cast in stone, I’m not sure.

“The infrastructure won’t cope.”

Although Ilkley Parish Council, one of the formal consultees over planning applications, has a policy of opposing major development in the Green Belt, it is feared Green Belt land will be selected for new housing sites.

Coun Mann recently chaired the Ilkley Future Group, a panel of experts in various fields drawn together to discuss Ilkley’s infrastructure and how it could develop sustainably in future.

The group produced a report, which it is hoped will inform the eventual Neighbourhood Plan.

Coun Mann was recently appointed as the parish council’s project manager for this plan.

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