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 made changes to their website so if you click on one of our links and it doesn't work, you can locate the document from their planning home page here.
Our next meeting due on 26th April 2018 has been rescheduled for 14th June.
Update 22nd May 2018
Green Belt serves five purposes:
click the headings below for more info
to check the unrestricted sprawl of large built-up areas
South East Bradford is host to one of the largest housing estates in the area, Holmewoood, and along with other adjacent estates which both Pre and Post date Holmewood, housing has now taken up all available non Green Belt land in the South East Bradford area.
As the Green Belt between Bradford and Leeds is desperately slim in this area it is vital that urban sprawl is not allowed to spill over into the Green Belt
to prevent neighbouring towns merging into one another
Two major northern cities Leeds and Bradford are particularly close to each other, they have effectively merged in the Leeds Bradford Road area and also at Tyersal and now the new Carr Wood development on Ned Lane is literally just across the road from Holmewood and will also be next to the proposed 300 Bradford homes destined for the green Belt at the head of the Valley.
This has to stop and the Green Belt boundary is the perfect place to call a halt.
to assist in safeguarding the countryside from encroachment
The slim finger of land known as the Tong & Fulneck Valley is primarily made up of Ancient Oak Woodland, rolling pastureland defined by mature hedges and tributary streams which feed into Pudsey beck which runs down the centre of the valley and provides the setting for the Character Landscapes of the ancient settlements of Tong and Fulneck. This forms a vital green lung between Bradford and Leeds and according to Bradford’s own 2008 document should not be developed for housing but the countryside should be enhanced for the long term benefit of local residents and visitors to enjoy healthy outdoor leisure activities in a quiet country environment rich in flora and fauna.
to preserve the setting and special character of historic towns
Tong, Pudsey and Fulneck are Ancient Settlements and therefore have centuries of history. Thoughout this period the settlements have benefitted from the setting of open countryside right up to the head of the Tong & Fulneck Valley.
In latter years this setting has been protected by Green Belt designation across the Valley irrespective of whether the land is in the Leeds or Bradford boundaries.
It is vital that Green Belt protection remains to preserve the setting and character of settlements on both sides of the Valley After all these centuries of open countryside it must be remembered building in the Tong Valley is irreversible – when it’s gone, it’s gone.
to assist in urban regeneration, by encouraging the recycling of derelict and other urban land
Unfortunately Bradford has a major issue with the poor quality of the city centre and deprived and dilapidated areas surrounding it.
The whole city centre needs to be reimagined to enhance the dilapidated areas and breathe life back into the centre.
This is where quality new housing in sustainable locations utilizing brown field land is most needed to support re-growth of the city.
Green Belt Protection of land on the outskirts of the city is intended to focus attention on tackling inner city issues such as these
Why do Bradford want to build on Green Belt?
They say they don’t – but to achieve their target number they have to
The Government says that building on Green Belt can only be allowed under ‘Exceptional Circumstances’ and the need to hit a housing target does not constitute ‘Exceptional Circumstances’. The Inspector has called for Bradford to define what they believe are their Exceptional Circumstances which support their assertion that Green Belt land should be released. Bradford’s target is 42,087 of which 11,000 are destined for the Green Belt.
There are strong reasons for arguing that figure is way too high.
The target includes a theoretical ‘unmet need’ quantity of 7687 calculated from as early as 2004 and it is highly questionable given what has happened since then (eg the financial crash) that this quantity should be included at all.
Simply using Government guidelines would reduce the 15 year housing requirement by 17,142 to 24,945 so no need for any Green Belt encroachment at all. Despite Bradford claiming they wish to minimize building on Green Belt they have declined to either remove the dubious ‘unmet need’ or recalculate using Government guidelines.
But surely Bradford needs more affordable housing...
Yes – but it’s not destined for the Tong Valley Green Belt.
Bradford Council Strategy is to encourage their development partners to build large houses in the Tong Valley. This maximises profit for developers and Council Tax Revenue for the Council. Here is a quote from the Management Consultants on behalf of the developers…
“The Council officers advised that the new affordable housing contributions in the new urban extension could be reduced given the extent of existing affordable housing in Holme Wood and the wider SE Bradford sector”
The Green Belt Review
There has effectively been no new building on Green Belt in the area for many years due to the Protection offered to Green Belt Designated land
Despite that, Bradford Council published plans some years ago which anticipate building a huge 11,000 houses in the Green Belt. Unbelievably Bradford Council had not undertaken a Review of the Green Belt before penciling in their plans
Their final plan was actually approved by the Government Inspector recently albeit with some reservations and requirements. Unsurprisingly a key stipulation was to undertake a Green Belt Review
However this is to be undertaken by the very same Council Officers whose job it is to deliver the Plan.
It is obvious that this review cannot possibly be fair and unbiased
Update 17th April 2018
The Local Council Elections take place on 3rd May.
We have invited the 5 Tong Ward and 11 Pudsey Ward candidates to give us their views on the Bradford Plan to build 2100 houses in the Tong Valley Green Belt.
Responses we have received so far are below - click to view
- Martin Hughes, Liberal Democrat
- Simon Seary, Conservative (also on behalf of all conservative candidates)
- Mark Neve, Conservative
- Helen Hart, Green Party
- Pudsey Labour candidates
Update 16th April 2018
Thanks to everyone who joined us on our Awareness Walk through Black Carr Woods on Saturday 14th, we hope everyone enjoyed the stroll (despite the mud) and learnt a little about the area, the Greenside Tunnel project, the Ancient Oak Woodland and Bradford’s plans to build on the Green Belt and we are sorry if anyone missed out on our info as we became a little spread out at times. For more info on the Greenside project see their GreensideGreenway page on Facebook.
A document we referred to on the walk is shown below. The ‘wonky triangle’ in the centre of the image is the Bradford ‘protrusion’ containing the Tong Valley. It attaches to the built up area of Bradford on the west and is otherwise surrounded by Leeds to the north, east and south and by Kirklees to the south west. Importantly, what this picture shows is not only that virtually the whole of the Tong Valley area is Green Belt but so are the surrounding areas (the Green Belt is coloured green). It seems incredible that Bradford Council are seeking to sacrifice some of the Green Belt in the centre of the wider Green Belt area to build on; an area with extremely limited access and no public transport. In putting their development Plan together, Bradford Council have a Duty to co-operate with adjoining authorities, particularly on sensitive issues such as this; we contend that they undertook this duty adequately, if at all.
Their plan also ignores the advice in their own 2008 Tong Valley Landscape Character document which can be seen here.
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.
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