At the meeting of Bradford Council’s Regulatory and Appeals Committee today, residents questioned why it had fallen on their shoulders to produce a report on the flooding risks they say the 69 houses off Westminster Drive would bring, and not the Council or proposed developers Barratt Homes.
Planning officers had recommended the highly controversial plans be approved by the committee – despite over 240 objections raising concerns from highways issues to impact on local services.
At the meeting it was clear that the main concern was over whether the proposed development would lead to flooding in the area.
Barratt Homes is also the developer behind another housing development next to this site – a development objectors said had led to flooding and damp problems in local homes.
They said this plan for 69 homes on the neighbouring field would make matters worse, and pointed out that objections had been submitted from residents of the other Barratt site.
Planning Office Malcolm Joy said Barratt had proposed a drainage system that would see surface water transported to a nearby beck.
He told members that the plans would not be signed off unless the developers ensured the building would not make flooding in the area worse.
He said the site had once been a “safeguarded” site – one that would be set aside for housing. Although this was no longer the case, the field had not reverted to Green Belt, and remained “unallocated.”
Numerous objectors spoke against the plans, including local Councillor Carol Thirkill (Lab, Clayton and Fairweather Green) who showed a slideshow of photos that highlighted existing problems in the area, such as flooding and on street parking, that residents felt the development would make worse.
She said: “The objectors live in the area – it is not NIMBYism, we know the topography of the area. Bradford needs houses, but not at this location.”
Councillor Margaret Alipoor (Lab, Clayton and Fairweather Green) also spoke against the plans, and told members had commissioned a report by KRS Environmental into the impact of the plans. The Telegraph & Argus has seen a summary of the report, which raises concerns that the flood risk assessment for the site was inadequate.
Members of the committee heard that the report had only been published the day before the meeting.
At one point in the meeting Mr Joy told members that officers from Bradford Council and Yorkshire Water had looked at the plans and felt the measures would be enough to stop any flood issues.
Councillor Thirkill shouted “poppycock” – which led to a telling off from Chair Councillor David Warburton.
After hearing further objections from residents that related to this flood report, Coun Warburton suggested that the decision be deferred to a future meeting to allow Council officers and Barratt Homes to look at the data in the new report. He asked residents to share the report within 24 hours.
John Fox from the Keep Clayton Green action group said: “I don’t understand why doing this report is the job of residents – it should be the job of the developer or the planning team.
“Why should we be asked to pay out our own money to do a report and then be asked to share it.”
Referring to Barratt Homes he said: “There people are highly paid professionals with fantastic resources available to them, but it is down to us to share our report.”
He said the objectors would share the report – meaning a decision will now be made at the next meeting in a month’s time.