Our Association has been formed by the people of Holmewood,Tong, Fulneck as well as people from the cities of Leeds and Bradford who all want to work together to protect the greenbelt of the Tong Fulneck Valley from further development.
Bradford have changed their website so our links direct to their documents no longer work. Until we resolve this, all the relevant documents can be found here.
Date for the Diary – our next walk in the Tong Valley will take place on 14th April 2018
More details to follow but the likely start point is the Bankhouse at 10am. Keep an eye out here or on Facebook/savetongvalley2015
Update February 2018
Brownfield and Green Belt; what’s happening?
Councils were requested by the Government to prepare a Brownfield Register by the end of 2017 if they didn’t already have one.
Bradford didn’t – but do now. Bradford Council have an explanation here. And the Register itself is here.
You can either look at the map or the list of sites plus the Government guidelines can be found there too.
Be sure to let the Council know if you are aware of any land missing from the register; the more brownfield (ie previously used) land that’s available, the less Green Field or Green Belt land will be needed.
Bradford Council have a development plan which targets 42,100 houses of which 11,000 are destined to be in the Green Belt – that’s more than a quarter of the total. There has been little or no development in the Bradford Green Belt for years, now at a stroke the Council wants to build 11,000 on there. Maps show where and how many there will be, (a more detailed Allocations plan is being worked on) and the developers and their agents have publicly declared that they have a ‘controlling interest’ in (at least some of) this Green Belt land.
And yet there has been no formal Review of the Green Belt at all. Unbelievable. The Inspector who ‘Passed’ the plan insisted that a review be undertaken. Given that Green Belt can only be released for development in ‘Exceptional Circumstances’ it seems inconceivable that the Plan has progressed this far without a Review taking place. Bradford Council are now addressing that; they have published the methodology and invited interested parties, such as the TFVA, CPRE and other local groups to comment on the methodology and we, as the TFVA have indeed submitted our responses.
So it’s somewhat belated but that seems all very reasonable.
Except for one thing.
The Council officers who have spent years putting this plan together, who are duty bound to bring this plan through to fruition, are the ones who are undertaking the Green Belt Review!
How can any reasonable person believe that this review will be fair and unbiased? It’s like putting your cat in charge of the aquarium.
Update December 10th, 2017
Bradford’s housing targets questioned, the threat of the Tong Valley Link Road, communities being kept in the dark and the vested interests of the major builders read more.
Update November 2017 - TONG VALLEY AT THE CENTRE
This extraordinary map shows the central place of the Tong Valley to the whole West Yorkshire conurbation - and how the Valley can be the 'Countryside Next Door' for so many people. The huge potential it has for the district needs carefully guarding - and enhancing. Let's work together to achieve this.
Update 7th October 2017
The next TFVA meeting is at the Tong School Hall, Thursday 7pm 12th October 2017. Amongst other topics we'll be having a look at the new Government proposed housing estimates. Here is the question we have tabled on the subject for the Bradford Council meeting on 17th October.
The recent 'Awareness Walk' showing the land destined for housing was extremely well attended and it's fair to say most walkers were surprised at the extent of the proposed Green Belt incursion.
Update 17th August
A few dates for the diary; on 2nd September Caroline Lucas of the Green Party will be meeting TFVA members to look at Bradford Council’s proposals for building on the Tong Valley Green Belt.
On Monday 11th September (7-8pm) there will be a meeting of the Tong Neighbourhood Forum at the Gateway Centre and on Saturday 23rd September there will be a fairly short walk over the area affected by the housing (and link road!) plans. We will start from the Tong Garden Centre car park at 10am, all welcome. The Telegraph and Argus recently published an article quoting Communities Secretary Sajid Javid, when asked by Councillor Philip Davies about the proposals to build on the Bradford Green Belt, that he expected Brown Field sites to be the priority in meeting housing needs. Read more...
Bradford Council have published their latest Plan-It newsletter – scroll down the Facebook section on the right to link to it.
Update 5th June 2017
We asked the Parliamentary Candidates what their views were on building a road and houses on the Tong & Fulneck Valley Green Belt and here are their replies.
Conservative - Tanya Graham's response:
Thank you for your e-mail and for your 2 questions.
We need more houses but there is no shortage of brownfield land in Bradford. However, I see no valid reason why Greenbelt land should be lost. A development on this scale in the Tong Valley is unthinkable and I would strongly oppose it.
We do need to do all we can to improve Bradford's transport links, including to the airport. The precise route any link road would take is crucially important and should obviously be subject to close consultation with the local community. If I am elected, I would work hard to ensure that the views of residents are taken fully into account.
Many kind regards
UKIP - Stephen Place's response
Ukip do not agree to build on greenbelt land and have incentives for brownfield development.
When a large development is planned Ukip would have a direct democracy referendum without planners and developers and the people would decide.
Update April 2017
Here are a number of articles published recently by the Telegraph and Argus on the subject of building on Green Belt, click on the headings below to read the articles.
- How the precise locations of developments will be decided
- T&A Editorial Comment; Green Belt Pledge must be honoured
- Keighley MP Kris Hopkins welcomes Government’s warning over Green Belt Use
- Perry Austin-Clarke; Anyone smell a rat over the Green Belt grey areas?
- Council warned to protect Green Belt sites in Keighley from housing.
- MP says warning over Green Belt is a ‘shot across the bows’ to Council
Update 10th March
Housing Minister Gavin Barwell speaks at CPRE Annual Lecture View here
Update 10th February
Update 14th January
Update 31st October 2016
Read on for the background to the situation
A further 900 homes are planned to be built within Holme Wood or adjacent to it - TFVA is not opposing these. We reckon that 900 is a more than generous proportion for Tong Ward to be providing towards the total new housing that Bradford requires.
However there is new anxiety about an additional area of land even deeper into the Valley which actually crosses both New Lane adjacent to Shackleton Wood and Raikes Lane up towards Black Carr Wood. This has been identified as being 'available' for housing, but is currently 'unsuitable'. This has not been a part of any earlier plans, and indicates that Bradford is determined to eventually eliminate an even bigger section of countryside in the Tong Valley. The sites for 1800 houses are in yellow numbered 99 and 100 and the additional site (in orange No. 101) which is available now will become suitable when sites 99 and 100 are developed and the new access road is built which will run across the valley and exits at the end of the Drighlington by-pass (Shell garage) - see the map
So despite Bradford planners stating that 1800 houses are needed in plots 99 and 100, the existence of site 101 will enable up to 3350 houses to be built over the 3 areas plus the inevitable infills and creep which will follow.
Although the required housing projection for the Bradford District as a whole has actually reduced by 3,400 new homes, all of these are to be achieved in Wharfedale and Airedale, and so the percentage of housing that Tong Ward will be providing has actually increased. S.E. Bradford was originally providing 10% of the housing required for the District, now it has risen to 14.3%.
TFVA - Our Final Challenge
Over the past four years Tong Fulneck Valley Association has consistently tried to deter Bradford Council from large scale housing development in the Tong Valley. Sadly, although we have received strong support from Leeds and Kirklees Councillors, our own Ward Councillors have been strong supporters of building in the green belt. Hence the political support that other Wards have had in Bradford to amend generally much smaller housing quotas has not been available to us.
We remain convinced that this is a deeply flawed plan for our area, and that those who have devised it are misguided. We will therefore continue to do everything possible to persuade those who hold the reins of power to reject the part of the proposals that relates to green belt release in our area.
THE PLANNING INSPECTOR will conduct a public examination of Bradford's Local Plan and decide whether it is to be accepted.
Following the meeting of Bradford Council on December 10th there will be a period of six weeks from 17th Feb 2014 to 31st March 2014 when anyone will be able to make representations to the Planning Inspectorate, including any objections. In addition to making our own objections TFVA will be urging local people and organisations to make their own submissions.
The Public Inspection will include any representations that have been made by individuals, organisations and other public bodies in respect of the Local Plan. Only responses made to this final draft of the Plan will be considered by the Inspector, who will then judge whether it is to be accepted or not. Representations should particularly focus upon the process by which the Local Plan has been formulated.
- We will focus on the way in which Bradford has failed to act in accordance with planning requirements in respect of green belt release and protection.
We believe Bradford Council has failed to adhere to required legislation and Planning Guidelines regarding greenbelt release for housing development in a way that can be seriously challenged.
- We will show that land at Westgate Hill & Tong Valley meets all the purposes for retaining of green belt protection, and argue this land should not be preferred over other options. These purposes in summary are:
- To check the unrestricted sprawl of large built-up areas.
- To prevent neighbouring towns merging into one another, or coalescence.
- To assist in safeguarding the countryside from encroachment
- To preserve the setting and special character of historic towns
- To assist in urban regeneration by encouraging the recycling of derelict and other urban land
You can help this part of our campaign by:
- Add your own representation and objections as outlined above.
- Stay in touch with TFVA through the website so we can email you with further information.
Tong Ward is in the extreme south east of Bradford district in a green wedge of land that cuts into Leeds and Kirklees, Bradford city centre being 3 miles to the north west, and Leeds city centre being 4 miles to the north east. Although surrounded by green belt, most of the settlements nearest to Tong are urban in character, Tong Street and Holmewood being 1.5 miles to the west of the village. The village of Bankhouse and Moravian settlement of Fulneck are about 0.6 miles to the north of Tong with Cockersdale 0.6 miles to the south east. The unusual way in which the ward is surrounded by Leeds territory clearly demonstrates the need for Bradford to collaborate carefully with its neighbouring authorities in planning that affects the countryside - see the map
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