Bronte village is set to battle housing scheme

Glenn Miller
Glenn Miller
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A BUSINESSMAN is due to unveil major plans to build 120 homes on green-field land in Haworth – and he wants to build another 200 if all goes to plan.

Bradford-based Pervez Abbas has yet to submit a planning application but opposition is already growing from residents and local politicians.

Mr Abbas owns several acres of land to the west of Weavers Hill which he wants to develop in stages.

He is due to submit a planning application for houses on part of the land within the next few weeks.

Mr Abbas told the Yorkshire Post he was “95 per cent sure” that the planning application would be given the go-ahead by councillors, despite having failed in his bid to gain permission for a previous scheme.

Back in 2008 Mr Abbas was behind a proposal for a 65-bed hotel and apartments on the land.

The proposals provoked opposition from residents and from members of the parish council and more than 40 people registered their opposition to the scheme with Bradford Council.

Planning officers recommended the “wholly inappropriate” plans be rejected and Mr Abbas withdrew the application at a meeting of the planning committee.

Four years on, and Mr Abbas said he was confident his new proposed development would win support.

He said the scheme was worth around £13m, would include 30 affordable homes and a contribution of around £500,000 towards local infrastructure and services.

He said the land was designated as ‘village green space’ several years ago but he believes this can be changed.

He said: “Haworth is short of 600 houses. We are ready (for opposition). This time we have got everything done precisely.”

He said councils, including Bradford, were “opening green belt” for development.

Residents are already preparing themselves to fight the application, however.

Conservative councillor Glen Miller said he opposed the 2008 scheme and his views had not changed.

He said: “This is green belt land and has been used as a public open space. I will oppose any form of building on this land. Not one person has contacted me wishing for it to be built on.

“Untold numbers are opposed to it being used for housing.”

Coun Miller said that, judging by the number of ‘For Sale’ signs on houses in Haworth, the village did not need any new homes.

“As far as I am concerned this site is unsuitable.”

Opposition to the plans is also expected to come from the Bronte Society, a literary group.

Sally McDonald, who chairs the Bronte Society Council, said the land in question was close to a route known locally as Charlotte’s Path, after the famous Bronte sister.

“We would be very much opposed to this development on Weavers Hill because of its proximity to the moor and Charlotte’s Path, which Charlotte would have strolled along.

“We have to protect this landscape, which is worth a lot to tourism and the economy. If you start to tamper with what people want to see, they won’t come.”

She wants the land to be protected from development.

Bradford Councillor Russell Brown, who sits on the local planning committee, said he had to remain impartial and judge each planning application on its merits.

However, he did say that residents had already started to email him to express their opposition to the plans.

Mr Abbas said the application would be submitted to Bradford Council within four to six weeks.