Protests planned over fears for Bradford park funerals

A white bell amongst a sea of blue bells in Northcliffe Park, Shipley.  PIC: Bruce Rollinson
A white bell amongst a sea of blue bells in Northcliffe Park, Shipley. PIC: Bruce Rollinson
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Campaigners will protest today over controversial plans to build a new crematorium on a popular Bradford park.

Bradford Council needs to build a new crematorium in North Bradford and Northcliffe Park, Shipley, is on a list of three possible sites.

Locals are up in arms over plans which they say would have a massive impact on the park, which is held in trust by the council as open space for the public.

Hundreds are expected at a demonstration this afternoon, with supporters marching up to the proposed crematorium site where they will hold a rally.

People are being asked to “come along and show how important Northcliffe is to you, and help us protect this special place.”

Friends of Northcliffe have been shown plans for the proposed building which they believe, with car parks and a garden of remembrance as well as access roads, could take up between five to 10 per cent of the park.

They have been told the other two sites being considered by the council are private and are the “more preferred options” but fear the park could end up as the “cheap option.”

Chair of Friends of Northcliffe Steve Bruzzese said: “We are sympathetic to the fact that the council hasn’t made a final decision.

“However we come from the position that the land is held in trust and should be used for the recreation and benefit of the public, and it shouldn’t be on the table in the first place. Our interest is in getting it off the table.”

Mr Bruzzese, 50, said any development was the “thin end of the wedge.” The proposed scheme would cut the meadow area of the park in two, affecting wildlife and plantlife and the ambience, and would also damage the woods.

He said: “We believe there’s a threat simply because detailed feasibility studies haven’t yet been undertaken.

“Things are going to become tougher as central Government funding diminishes in the next spending round. Who is to say that Northcliffe couldn’t end up as the cheap option?”

SITE ‘ONLY ONE OF SEVERAL’

Bradford Council said it was aware of public feeling about the proposals, but Northcliffe was “just one” of a number of sites being considered and “only a very small part of the site would be used if it is ultimately chosen.”

A statement added: “This is an early stage of a feasibility study and no decision is pending.

“If the idea is progressed further a full public consultation would be carried out which would take into account the views of the surrounding community.”

A petition to save the park from development, signed by nearly 3,000 people so far, will be presented to the council on October 16.