Villagers take fight to a public inquiry

Campaigners battling a homes scheme in Steeton are set to take their fight to a public inquiry to decide whether the fields earmarked for the 220-house project can be designated a village green.

Residents Shona Cole and Joanne Stokes said they were determined to save three fields – which they claim have been used as public land for more than 20 years – for future generations.

They applied to Bradford Council for village green status for the area off Thornhill Road, where developers Redrow were given planning permission to build in September last year.

The campaigners have already received about 160 witness statements from villagers which they claim prove the area has long been used for public recreation area – a claim disputed by the developers.

A Government inspector will now decide the future of the fields.

Mrs Cole said: “We have got to prove at the public inquiry that the land has been used by local people for recreation for at least 20 years to get protected status.

“It could go either way so we still need people to come forward to give us more witness statements, if they have not already done so, to take to the public inquiry.”

A page has been set up on Facebook, under Steeton Village, with a link to template witness statements for villagers to complete. There will also be copies in Julie and Joanne hairdressing salon in Station Road and at Steeton Post Office.

The campaigners applied for village green status after an appeal court judge said that tests to protect green fields at a similar site at Yeadon Banks had been satisfied.

The Commons Act 2006 states that land can be registered as a town or village green where “a significant number of the inhabitants of any locality, or of any neighbourhood within a locality, have indulged as of right in lawful sports and past-times on the land for a period of at least 20 years”.

If the Steeton application is accepted, the area allocated as a village green could not be built on.

Mrs Cole said: “These are the last three fields that we have got left for children to play safely and for people to walk their dogs. There is also a deer living there.”

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