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. Exactly where these will be is difficult to know as the document which specifies this, the Allocations Plan, does not exist. However 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
Update 27th October 2016
The TFVA AGM took place on 26th October. A key element of the meeting was the Chairman’s Report which informed of the current situation regarding the provisional approval of the Bradford plan by the Planning Inspector. However, following the intervention of Shipley MP Philip Davies who has concerns over the loss of Green Belt in Wharefdale, the minister has stepped in to suspend implementation of the plan.
Stuart Andrew, the MP for Pudsey has asked the Minister to intervene similarly in the Leeds Plan, and he had also made known the concerns about Green Belt release here in the South East Bradford sector.
As Gordon Dey stated at the meeting, the best way to influence the process is to write to your MP expressing your concerns. Judith Cummins is the Labour MP for Bradford South and Stuart Andrew is the MP for Pudsey, some of whose constituents could be greatly affected by developments in the Valley; they can be contacted here.
Update 11th October 2016
The TFVA is holding it's next meeting (the AGM) at The Old Schoolroom in Tong Village at 7.15pm on Wednesday on 26th October. Perhaps the key item on the agenda for many is the update on the situation regarding the Inspector's report on the Bradford Council Core Strategy and in particular it's implications on the Tong Valley.
Update 5th June 2016
Dear Members and friends,
The Inspector has not yet approved Bradford's Core Strategy for housing, which as you know plans for 6000 new homes in Bradford SE, of which 2700 are planned to be in and around the Holmewood estate, with at least 1800 houses in the Green Belt at the Tong and Fulneck Valley.
Nonetheless Bradford have started the "Land Allocation" process in which they publish for comment the exact sites they are considering for housing and employment use.
The Land Allocation Plan is WORSE than the earlier proposals. It includes one very large site previously ruled out for immediate development and another new site in Tong Village itself.
There is another consultation which we are urging our members and friends to respond to. You are asked to comment on the sites shown on the master plan, to suggest other sites and to respond to other questions.
Responses must be in by Tuesday 19th July at the latest, so to help you we are again holding meetings to explain how this may affect you and how best you can lodge your views.
There will be a meeting in FULNECK at the Boys Brigade Hall on MONDAY 27th JUNE and in TONG VILLAGE at the Old Schoolroom on THURSDAY 30th June, both meetings at 7.00 PM.
Please come and bring friends who may be affected.
If you want to look at the sites affecting the Valley there is a map book on the web here
Go to page 135 for the best view, with pages 128, 142, and 134 providing the overlaps. The fields shown which concern us most are SE/099, SE/100, SE/101(the site previously ruled out) and smaller sites at SE/056, SE/057, SE/061, SE/062 and SE/063. The new site is SE/138.
Tong and Fulneck Valley Association.
Update June 4th 2016
Bradford Council proposes huge invasion of Tong Valley Green Belt Protected Land
Save Tong Valley Public Meetings
Monday June 27th at 7 pm
Fulneck Boys Brigade Hall, Fulneck
Thursday June 30th at 7 pm
Tong Schoolroom, Tong Lane, Tong Village
Join us to find out more about the land that is under threat, and how to make your views known in a further Consultation.
Update Feb 29th 2016
The TFVA submitted its objections to the Bradford City Council's 'Main Modifications' by the deadline of 20th January as indeed did a number of individuals on their own behalf. Everyone who did so should by now have had confirmation of receipt by BCC and they should have been passed on to the Government Inspector. We must now await the outcome of the inspector's deliberations; will he approve the Core Strategy or not? There are also still a number of documents which BCC have yet to publish and they are sure to contain details of interest to the TFVA e.g. the Land Allocations and Proposals DPDs, the Green Belt Review and critically, the Link Road proposal between the A650 Shell garage roundabout and Thornbury. Further to the note in the January update, the 'Join Us' form has been working fine since then, thank you to those who re-submitted their details and we look forward to hearing from anyone who would like to be a 'friend' of the TFVA. To be kept up to date with developments at the earliest opportunity, 'Like' our Facebook page on the right here.
Update January 9th 2016
Update January 2016
Please Note, gremlins have entered the works and it appears that some 'join us' forms from the website have not reached us. Can we please ask anyone who has filled in the 'join us' form recently to resubmit to be certain we haven't missed anyone. Please accept our apologies for the inconvenience and thank you for your continued support.
Update December 2015
Bradford Council has produced it's list of "Main Modifications" to their Core Strategy which is here, and the Core Strategy itself is here. We have the opportunity to comment on these changes but all comments, objections etc must be received by the Council by January 20th 2016 and guidelines on how to do that and the necessary forms are here.
The TFVA will be holding meetings to assist in helping the local public to respond at Fulneck Boys Brigade Building on Wednesday 6 Jan at 7pm and The Manor Golf Club on Thurs 7 Jan at 7pm. Please attend if you can
Update Late November 2015
The Bradford Council Plan-It Newsletter has just been released which informs where they are with the Core Strategy and links to relevant documents, Here it is
Update Nov 2015
The TFVA Annual General Meeting was held on 29th October, here is the Chairman's report and by way of reminding ourselves of the issues, Gordon's response to the Council earlier this year
There has been a lull in activity as we await the next stage from the council and it was noted at the meeting that, because of this, many of the local public believe the problem appears to have gone away. This is absolutely not so and here is an article on the subject by Ruth Strong and Brenda Pearson, destined for the Pudsey Squeaker..
Pudsey and Fulneck residents will not only be affected by Bradford Council's plans but also by their own Leeds Council's and there is lots of info relating to this on www.saveleedsgreenbelt.com
Update July 2015
The Government Inspector's hearings have been completed and the summaries, from the TFVA perspective, by John and Gordon are listed further below. As Gordon said in his report, the Council were given a fair amount of 'homework' to do by the inspector and the Representees were given the opportunity to comment on this and the Council's additional submissions which appeared subsequent to our original Representations. Again, John and Gordon did an excellent job on this and there are links to the comments below along with comments from Yorkshire Greenspace Alliance.
So what happens next?
This is what the Inspection Co-ordinator said -
"The timing of the Inspector's Final Report remains uncertain at present as first the Council need to proceed to a consultation exercise - usually for a six week period - in respect of their proposed Modifications to the Plan. There were proposed changes to the distribution of housing numbers and these topics and others will need to feature in the consultation with representors and other interested parties.
Prior to the consultation commencing the Council have a desire to conclude some additional work on a couple of specific topics that also featured in the recent hearings: Habitats Regulations and Gypsies and Travellers. I'm expecting therefore that there could be a period of weeks before the consultation commences. Ultimately, armed with the responses to the consultation the Inspector is likely to then proceed to write his final report or, alternatively and to further assist him, possibly reconvene a short series of hearings to further explore issues arising from the consultation".
Update April 2015
Update Spring 2015
Bradford Council has finalised its 'Core Strategy' and has submitted it to the Government Inspector for approval.
The Core Strategy consists of a great number of documents many of which are lengthy and technical.
Also submitted to the Inspector, as part of that package, are all of our 'Representations' which are our objections to those parts of the Core Strategy which refer to the proposals to build on the Tong & Fulneck Valley Green Belt.
The following links lead to all the documents comprising the Core Strategy and details of the Inspector's Examination objectives, procedure and timetable along with guidance notes for 'Representors'.
Eric Pickles Strengthens Green Belt Protection
Bradford Council Plan-It newsletter February 2015
Government document explaining the full Inspection Procedure
Bradford Council statement on publication of Core Strategy and list of documents submitted
Summary Report of Core Strategy Inspection Process, and outline of the expected Timescale
Program Officer's covering letter to Representors 20/1/15
Local Plan Examination, Guidance notes for Participants 20/1/15
Program Officer's covering letter to Representors 26/1/15
Local Plan Examination, Inspector's Schedule of Matters, issues and Questions (MIQ's)
TFVA Chairman's Report 2014
Bradford Council announced in it's Plan-it newsletter on 28/10/14 it is currently aiming to submit the Core Strategy to government in the first week of December, with an examination anticipated to start in March 2015.
Update September 2014
The past year has been a momentous one, with the publication of Bradford Council's proposed Core Strategy in the spring, and a subsequent very encouraging response from local people to our campaign to oppose their plans for a large scale housing development in the Tong Valley and at Westgate Hill. Since then Bradford Council has been analysing the objections, and is considering its formal response. In due course it will produce a summary of the issues raised and its response. We understand that it intends to hand its Submission Draft Core Strategy to the Planning Inspector in September for independent inspection. More news of this and its implications for us may be available at our AGM.
Update April 2014
Hundreds of people attended TFVA's recent public meetings, and membership has expanded to reach 500 members. Our conviction that Bradford Council's plans are unacceptable to local people and communities received a massive vote of confidence by the response we received from a wide spectrum of people. Many were shocked to hear about the scale of Bradford's housing expansion, and were very keen to be associated with our Representation to the Planning Inspector. We are immensely grateful for the remarkable level of support that we received.
TFVA can confirm that the Conservative Group on Leeds Council has formally objected to Bradford's plans, as have Councillors in Pudsey and Kirklees. TFVA's own objections are wide ranging, and address all three specified areas of Legality, Duty to Co-operate and Soundness. We have sought to be detailed, accurate, comprehensive and effective, and we were glad to offer our comments on behalf of all of our 500 members. We know that many others have made their own objections.
The deadline for Representations has now passed, so we must await the judgement of the Planning Inspector. If the Inspector finds that the there are aspects of the Core Strategy that have been determined by illegal methodology (and we believe this to be the case), or that Bradford Council has failed in its Duty to Cooperate with neighbouring authorities and public bodies (and we believe that it has), then it is likely that the Council will be required to begin again. If it is proven that the Core Strategy is not 'Sound' according to certain criteria, (and we believe this to true) then the Inspector may decide that aspects of the Plan will need to be amended.
The timescale for this is not clear. It may well be that he/she will set up a public enquiry to which we and others will be invited to give evidence of our concerns. We look forward to any opportunity that will ensure that Bradford Council's destructively ambitious plans for the Tong Fulneck Valley are comprehensively amended. We are confident that the Council's plan for this vital area of countryside will eventually be consigned to where it belongs...... the rubbish bin.
Read on for the background to this....
Update March 2014 - Representation Action Summary - deadline now passed
The PLANNING INSPECTOR is conducting a Public Examination of Bradford's Local Plan and decide whether it is to be accepted.
Between 17th February 2014 and 31st March 2014 there is an opportunity for anyone who objects to the plans to make their representations. The information is on the Bradford.gov.uk website HERE
You will find the Representation Guidance Notes HERE
The Representation form which can either be emailed or printed off to fill in is HERE. This is the ONLY form that can be used to submit your objections.
There is a list of Frequently Asked Questions followed by the answers HERE
There is a summary of the Tong Fulneck Valley Association Representations HERE. You will find this document extremely helpful as it summarises the areas the TFVA will be making our representations so it will guide you to the objection categories and reasons for the objections. It is recommended that a separate form is used for each objection to maximise the effect.
And the Map showing the areas for development in the Valley is HERE.
Whilst the TFVA is submitting detailed objections it is very important that as many individual objections from the public are received as well.
Please Note this is everyone's last chance to have their voices heard to object to the proposals to build on the Tong Valley Green Belt. Please do not leave it too late - all these objections must be submitted on the Representation Forms by Monday 31st March 17.00 hours latest.
Awaiting the Inspectors outcome
Bradford council approved and published their Core Strategy Local Plan. A 6 week period followed, ending on 31/3/2014 where any objections (or Representations) regarding the plan could be submitted to the Planning Inspector to be taken into account by the Inspector in deciding whether to approve the plan or not.
The Tong and Fulneck Valley Association leafleted the Tong Valley and adjoining areas, lobbied allies and ran 4 presentations explaining the situation and potential effect on the Valley and nearby communities. We also explained how to effectively submit Representations to the Inspector.
The TFVA submitted its own representations as did members of the public and local councilors who object to the plan
We now await the outcome of the Inspectors deliberations; we do not know when that will be but the autumn is our best estimate.
The TFVA is now working on plans with other local organisations to enhance and improve the Tong Valley for the benefit of the community
Bradford Council approves it's Core Strategy
Despite heavy lobbying from TFVA and presentation of a petition carrying over a thousand signatures, Bradford Council approved its draft Local Plan Core Strategy at a Council Meeting on Dec 10th. The Plan includes for the building of over 2,700 new homes in Holme Wood and the Tong Valley. The Council has now announced a period of at least six weeks when anyone can write to the Planning Inspectors to challenge or object to any features of the Plan.
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