A MAJOR strategy to guide future development in Silsden, Steeton and Eastburn is almost complete.

Parish and town councils in the three communities came together to create a Neighbourhood Plan outlining what residents want to happen in their communities.

The plan covers issues such as green spaces, listed buildings, infrastructure needs like schools and roads, and the minimum distance between schools and new takeaways.

The plan will become a legal document, forcing Bradford Council and private developers to take it into account when carrying out land-use changes and planning new developments.

Members of Silsden Town Council and Steeton-with-Eastburn Parish Council have been working on the plan for several years, including asking residents for their views and ideas.

The councils devised a joint plan because they felt they shared many joint challenges due to their location in the Aire Valley between North Yorkshire and Keighley, such as transport infrastructure, the railway station, waterways, schools and housing.

The Neighbourhood Plan will soon be submitted to Bradford Council and a government planning inspector for approval, then following further consultations, residents will vote whether or not to approve it.

Steeton-with-Eastburn Parish Council chairman David Mullen said it was now simply a matter of “dotting the Is and crossing the Ts” before submitting the two-inch-thick plan to Bradford Council.

He said: “We had to give reasons and evidence why we think things should happen. We had to talk to other organisations like English Heritage and the Environment Agency and get their agreement to what we want.

“It’s a legal document that sets out how we want our area. When anyone puts in a planning application the council has to look at the plan. Developers ignore it at their peril.”

Cllr Mullen said the plan would bring extra money to Silsden, Eastburn and Steeton through the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) paid by housing developers.

He said: “If we don’t have in Neighbourhood Plan we get 15% of the CIL and district councillors can help us spend it. A plan gives us 25% with nobody telling us what to do. We can spend money for the benefit of the community.

Silsden Town Council deputy chairman Rebecca Whitaker described the Neighbourhood Plan as a “local plan for local people” giving them more say on how they would like to see things.

She added: “It’s so things aren’t imposed on us and things aren’t missed, and local knowledge is put into the plan. The public told us they’d like to see certain things highlighted. We looked at whatever we regarded as being special to the area.”