Experts are set to reveal their strategy for future of Ilkley

First published in Local news Wharfedale Observer: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

The identities of experts working to protect Ilkley against over-development have been revealed and their proposed policies are to go before councillors next week.

Representatives of Ilkley Parish Council, healthcare services, tourist bodies, business and education in the town have worked on the basis of a strategy which could help represent local views and needs during consultation on Bradford Council’s forthcoming Local Plan – the rule book for determining planning applications in the next 15 years.

The Ilkley Future Group was put together under the chairmanship of Ilkley parish councillor Brian Mann to draw up draft policies for housing, employment, business, transport, health, education and other issues, which could affect how the town develops.

It is hoped the eventual strategy will be adopted by Ilkley Parish Council and supported by district councillors. It could form the basis of the town’s own Neighbourhood Plan, used for influencing planning decisions locally.

The identity of group members was revealed this week, ahead of a meeting with Ilkley parish councillors on Tuesday, before the proposed strategy is put to a peer review with ward councillors.

Coun Mann and Councillor Paul Kitching handed over details to parish council members this week.

Members of the Future Group include: Ilkley parish councillor Gordon Perry (housing); Vera Woodhead of Ilkley Business Forum; David Blackburn (transport and parking); Ilkley Grammar School headteacher Gillian James, and deputy head, Richard Jennings (education); Libby Dixon and Karen Redman (health); John Hope (sport); Tim Edwards (tourism), Kate Brown and Helen Kidman of Ilkley Civic Society (heritage and design).

Independent expertise was called in after parish councillors began looking at the formation of a Neighbourhood Plan to help represent the town’s needs in future planning consultations.

Councillor Mann said: “We quickly realised we on the council didn’t have the expertise, so I was drafted in to effectively round up suitable candidates. Paul and I founded the Future Group to produce recommendations under various headings.”

Coun Kitching told the parish council on Monday work on the Neighbourhood Plan would not start until about April, when the next stage of Bradford Council’s LDF is expected to be finalised.

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