Ben Rhydding houses at centre of dispute set for approval

Wharfedale Observer: The site of the former Ilkley Middle School The site of the former Ilkley Middle School

A controversial 33-house development on a former school site in Ben Rhydding is recommended for approval by Bradford Council planners today.

Bradford Council’s own plans to build the two, three and four-bedroom homes at the former Ilkley Middle School site, in Valley Drive, are to go before the council’s Regulatory and Appeals Committee at City Hall. Officers are recommending the scheme, which includes nine affordable houses, should be given the green light, with a series of conditions.

The proposed development is part of a £6 million plan by the council to create affordable homes on two sites in Ilkley.

But the plans have attracted opposition from dozens of residents, as well as local councillors, concerned about the impact on the landscape, parking provision, loss of privacy for neighbouring properties, traffic congestion, road safety, and the strain on Ilkley schools to accommodate extra families.

There is also concern about the development encroaching on the much-used neighbouring public sports field – once the Middle School playing fields.

The site of the planned new homes is next to the recently-built 56-apartment retirement and care complex, Emmandjay Court.

A report by the Council’s Strategic Director of Regeneration and Culture says the site is identified for housing in Bradford’s Revised Unitary Development Plan, and the principle of residential use is accepted. The report goes on to say the affordable housing requirement for this development would be 13 homes - but just nine are proposed.

In addition to the Middle School houses, the Council is planning to build 22 at Moor Court, Fieldway, also close to the site.

Ilkley Parish Council has objected, and parish councillor, Paul Kitching, plans to attend the meeting to object as an individual.

He said: “Is it not the statutory duty of the local authority to ensure availability of school places for all children of school age?

“If this is so – by continuing to sign off development of housing without such infrastructure in place, the local authority is likely to be in breach of the law and therefore in danger of being sued accordingly.”

Ward councillor, Anne Hawkesworth (Ind, Ilkley), has also objected.

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