FURTHER to your article on the current planning application for a skip waste sorting/recycling facility to be built on the old Devonshire Mill site between West Lane and Devonshire Street, I would like to add the following comments.

The Local Area Plan for Keighley NW specifically states that the Devonshire Mill site is designated as a Housing Delivery & Strategic Site, suitable for up to 48 dwellings. In other words the Local Area Plan made in 2020 clearly does not intend the mill site to be used for industrial development of any kind. This application for a rubbish sorting facility should be refused on these grounds alone, notwithstanding all the other objections that can be made on the following grounds.

This site is totally unsuitable for a skip waste sorting facility, being wedged between two residential areas along West Lane and Devonshire Street, and certainly will result in a great intensification of use. There will be a minimum of 15 skip deliveries and one 40ft skip transfer out per day for six days per week. This increase in skip traffic will seriously challenge the surrounding highway network, especially on an already busy West Lane. It will decrease highway and pedestrian safety and seriously damage the environment of the houses that directly face the site.

There are also wider traffic issues to consider. How will all these skip lorries approach and leave the site? Through the centre of Keighley?

The proposed storage units may well screen the huge Unit 1 skip sorting facility from public view from West Lane to the south. The view from the north however will be completely different, as Unit 1 will totally dominate the view from more than two dozen residential houses whose gardens immediately adjoin the site, and other public vantage points to the north. To claim that the site at present is unsightly is ludicrous. From my window it looks more like a pleasant wooded nature reserve, and the honey bees I keep in hives at the bottom of the garden next to the site certainly treat it as such. It is their main forage area which will be destroyed by this proposal, leaving them without food.

The implication made in the plan is that a busy, noisy, odorous skip waste sorting/recycling centre will look better than a residential development, despite admitting that the dominant Unit 1 facility actually needs screening from public view, presumably because it will in fact be an eyesore, especially viewed from the north.

To argue that this facility will "reduce vehicle emissions from skip lorries travelling to other similar facilities", is itself an admission that heavy-weight skip lorry emissions will significantly increase in what is now primarily a residential area, not simply a commercial area as portrayed in this application. St Andrew's Primary School is quite close to this site and many residents must cross West Lane with children at times when this facility will be in use.

Although it is correct that the site was earmarked for residential development after demolition of the old mill in 2007, it is not true that the development of the site never materialised because it is sandwiched between existing commercial uses (all low impact) and is within a low-value area. In the context of Keighley house prices this is not a particularly low-value area, but it would soon become one if this facility was allowed to be built. In consultation in the past with local councillors I was informed that the requirement to include a certain percentage of affordable social housing was the real reason that houses were not built, not their location.

The approach of the applicant seems to be that because no houses have been built on the site, he is doing the town centre a favour by proposing this industrial facility instead. Far from "resulting in enhancement of the site/immediate area", as the applicant claims, the outcome would be the very opposite.

This proposal totally ignores all the serious negative aspects outlined above. If a rubbish sorting facility is really required in the area then there are far more appropriate sites on the outskirts of Keighley, well away from any residential areas, with much better and less intrusive road access.

The demolition of the old mill was a step forward in creating a safer, quieter, cleaner and more pleasant urban environment. Allowing the building of a rubbish sorting facility in the middle of this predominantly residential area would be a massive step backwards. It would be the abandonment of the responsibility of town planners to safeguard the citizens of Keighley from industrial abuse.

Frank Goad, Devonshire Street, Keighley

* Email your letters to alistair.shand@keighleynews.co.uk