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Anger over how Denholme homes bid passed
Bradford Council has come under fire for letting an officer give the go-ahead to a controversial housing estate in Denholme “behind closed doors”.
Plans for 35 houses on a field at the junction of New Road and Long Causeway were approved earlier this month, but one local councillor says it is “unacceptable” that elected councillors weren’t given the chance to debate it.
The approval means that applicant M Bailey can now market the land to housing developers. Included in his application are improvements to New Road, one of the busiest roads through the village. New central road markings, signage and traffic-calming measures accompany the development, but after the plans were first revealed Denholme Parish Council felt these works didn’t go far enough, and had asked for traffic lights near the entrance to the new estate instead.
This idea was rejected by council highways officers, who felt lights would be unsuitable for the road.
Some neighbours had objected to the green site being used when there are empty buildings nearby.
Bradford Council says it received no requests for the plans to go before a committee, and so gave the responsibility to a planning officer.
Councillor Simon Cooke, who represents the Bingley Rural ward on Bradford Council, had assumed an application of this size would go to a committee. He said: “I’m disappointed that with all the publicity about this, the decision was made by a council officer.
“I have no objections to the council delegating decisions about applications like a house extension, but this is totally different, this is for 35 houses at a controversial site. This is not a small thing – let it be decided by councillors, in the open, where they can be seen to be responsible, and not for officers to decide behind closed doors.
“It’s unacceptable and I’ll try to find out why the decision was made in this way. It is appalling behaviour by the council. I’m very angry about this, I’m not going to let it lie.”
Mohammed Yousuf, area planning manager, said: “This application was approved under the powers detailed in the scheme of delegation, which has the agreement of all council members. As part of this scheme, ward members can ask for planning applications to be referred to committee, instead of being decided by officers. As there were no representations from ward members, and very few objections from members of the public, this application was decided by an officer under the scheme.”
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