One of the Aire Valley’s last surviving family-run farms risks being “lost forever” under plans to replace it with an innovation centre, descendants of Saltaire’s founders and patrons claimed.
More than 1,100 objections have been made against the plans since Kingsbridge Directors Pension Scheme (KDPS), the landowner, and Bradford University submitted planning applications to Bradford Council last year.
A change of use is sought to agricultural land at Milner Field Farm in Primrose Lane, Gilstead and permission to build Bradford Innovation Centre in its place.
The dairy farm has been run by the Downs family as tenants since 1902.
Jamie Roberts, the great-great grandson of former Saltaire owner Sir James Roberts, and Nick Salt, great grandson of Sir Titus Salt, have written to the Council to oppose the proposals for greenbelt land in the Saltaire buffer zone.
They wrote: “We are both very concerned that if the current planning applications are approved there are likely to be negative impacts on the Saltaire World Heritage Site, as well as the loss of precious greenbelt land, and the historic and nationally significant model farm that was built and managed by our families will cease to exist.”
They said it was difficult to understand why the landowners wanted to build the centre on a locally important greenfield site, ten miles out of the city.
David Beal, a spokesman for KDPS, said: “The intention of this planning application is to create a world class innovation centre that is attracting international finance and innovators, and will help reverse the decline of the Bradford region and help it to compete in the global economy.
“The application does not affect the Green Belt status of the site; the entire site would remain zoned as Green Belt by the Council. There will be no change to the visual impact of the buildings on the Milner Field site, and our application maintains the shapes, topography, trees, and views of the current fields. In fact, through proposals to open up more of the site to the public than is currently accessible – including the historic mansion of Titus Salt Jnr – and to undertake environmental reinstatement measures, our plans would substantially enhance the Green Belt and the buffer zone.”
A date has yet to be set for the Council’s planning committee to rule on the proposals.