Serious pressure to build on land in the Worth Valley should concern all local businesses connected to the tourist industry, according to a parish council chairman.

Councillor John Huxley, of Haworth, Cross Roads and Stanbury Parish Council, urged such enterprises to participate in consultations on the parish’s important Neighbourhood Development Plan.

This is being drawn up by the council and members of the local community to give local people the power to say what kind of development should be allowed within their parish, what this development will look like and where it is located.

Speaking at last Tuesday’s Bronte Country Tourism Partnership meeting, Coun Huxley said: “We know the bottom of the valley is under pressure from developers – the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway could end up running through a tunnel of houses, which would not be good.

“We want sustainable development that makes Haworth, Cross Roads and Stanbury a good place to live in, but it has to have its industry, and that industry is tourism.

“We see the Bronte Country Tourism Partnership as being very important, and we’d like members to come to the consultations, because this will have a big impact on your businesses.”

A strategic long-term housing strategy put together by Bradford Council has recommended that Haworth parish can accommodate a further 500 homes in the next 25 years, with another 100 recommended for Oxenhope and 200 for Oakworth.

Coun Huxley stressed that he and his colleagues can’t simply say “no” to new development.

But he explained that if the Neighbourhood Development Plan is completed, it will become a statutory instrument which Bradford planning officers will be required to take into account when they make decisions on applications.

Public consultation meetings on the development plan take place at Haworth Methodist Church, West Lane, from 10am until noon, on Saturday, March 29, St James’ Church, Cross Roads, from 10am until noon, on Saturday April 5, and then back at Haworth Methodist Church, on Wednesday, April 23, from 7pm until 9pm.

People can also learn more at haworthcrossroadsstanburyn

Coun Huxley said engaging with all the local community was not going to be easy. “When we put together our parish plan we wrote to every household and publicised it in the parish newsletter six times. But we still had people saying they had never heard of it,” he said.