BEN Rhydding resident and local Green campaigner Dr Ros Brown is calling for residents to get involved in Bradford Council’s Local Plan consultation.

Four sites have been allocated to provide a total of 314 new houses in Ilkley. The majority of these will be in Ben Rhydding where 155 houses are proposed on the fields next to the Ben Rhydding Scout and Guide group halls on Wheatley Lane reaching towards Coutances Way. A further 130 houses are proposed on the field between Wheatley Grove, Ben Rhydding Drive and High Wood. In Ilkley nine houses are proposed on the corner of Stockeld Road opposite the Old Bridge and 20 more on Skipton Road East.

Ros said: “As a resident I spoke up at Bradford Council’s Core Strategy inspection public hearings six years ago to protect the beautiful field off Wheatley Grove and our overburdened infrastructure. I know the time and energy it takes to engage with the documents and process involved in a significant consultation like this. It’s heart-breaking to see the Wheatley Grove field still being deemed suitable for housing development. It’s vital we step up again to protect our Green Belt, local biodiversity and help reduce the risk of flooding and air pollution from overdevelopment. If we are required to have this number of new houses we need to ensure we have the right mix of houses in the right places and secure much needed properly affordable housing for young families and those looking to downsize. Over the coming weeks we need to scrutinise the many assessments and assumptions these figures and proposals are based on which all takes time.”

Dr Brown has already raised her concerns with Bradford Council about the short notice, inappropriate timing and online-only nature of the consultation due to the current Covid restrictions. “Running an online-only consultation will suit many people but for some of our residents without Internet access there is a risk they will be excluded,” she said. “Although residents can order hard copies of the documents from Bradford Council’s Local Plan consultation team it’s often hard to make sense of all the factors involved without discussing these with other people. For the Core Strategy consultation back in 2014 there were hard copies of documents in the library and volunteers on hand to meet with residents and help them make submissions. This time such support will be harder if not impossible to access. In addition, many parents who are working and home-schooling their children due to Covid restrictions will find the time they have available to engage with a consultation of this size and importance severely restricted or non-existent. Yet the matters the Plan deals with will affect all of us in the years ahead. We need everyone’s voices to be heard so we can make the best of available opportunities for our town while protecting what we value and ensuring a sustainable zero carbon future.” The consultation runs until March 24 and can be accessed at