COUNCIL officials have been accused of taking "a ridiculous length of time" to develop plans for a disused tunnel.

Campaigners are fighting to save Queensbury Tunnel from abandonment so it can form the centrepiece of a foot and cycle path connecting Halifax with Bradford and Keighley.

In July 2020, the Department for Transport committed £1 million to fund two studies looking at repair options for the tunnel and the feasibility of incorporating it into a cycle network.

The Queensbury Tunnel Society has raised concerns that the findings have still not been published, despite the repairs report being completed over a year ago.

At its southern end, the tunnel emerges onto a site at Holmfield in Halifax, with planning permission for industrial units.

"The property is commercially valuable and I'm often contacted by companies that want to make use of it," said landowner David Sunderland.

"I haven't pursued any schemes because I want the tunnel project to succeed. It's a fantastic structure – built in conditions we can't even begin to imagine – and we need to make the most of assets like this."

However, he said he can't put his business on hold indefinitely and added: "I've never been contacted by Bradford Council about the tunnel; I've no idea what their intentions are and it's taking a ridiculous length of time for them to get their act together."

Graeme Bickerdike, engineering co-ordinator for Queensbury Tunnel Society, said things seemed to have entered a "state of paralysis".

He said: "We're as much in the dark as the landowner. Two years ago, Bradford Council promised us regular progress reports on the studies, but we hear nothing of substance."

Campaigners said they understood that Sustrans, a charity that aims to make it easier for people to walk and cycle, had been given additional funding to carry out further work on the feasibility study, with completion expected soon.

Bradford Council says it understands people's frustration, but that complex projects like Queensbury Tunnel take time to develop.

It added that the tunnel society had recently been provided with a "brief update".

"We're keen to provide more information but until the reports are completed there is a limit to what we can share," said a spokesperson.

"Bradford Council remains committed to saving Queensbury Tunnel and we will continue work with our partners to do everything we can to transform it into an iconic active travel route."