Locals in Apperley Bridge, near Bradford, have reacted with shock and anger at being told that housebuilder Miller Homes is considering plans to develop a patch of land known locally as Simpsons Green, which lies next to the Leeds & Liverpool Canal.
One resident, Jo Taylor, said the land is “one of the green jewels in Bradford’s crown” which is used by families, walkers and cyclists - and grazing cows.
She said: “People have reacted with shock to the news that an already saturated housing market could get 275 new homes at the expense of one of the green jewels in Bradford’s crown.
“Apperley Bridge could lose several of the fields that make it such a popular weekend destination for many families, walkers and cyclists and when the weather is a bit cooler, sledgers.”
Although a planning application has yet to be submitted, developer Miller Homes is asking residents to view the scheme and comment.
Dozens turned up to a public exhibition of the plans which was held at Greengates Primary School last week.
Some of those who attended the exhibition have expressed concerns about how local schools will cope with an increased number of children living in the area.
One mother said: “There were believed to be around six applications for every reception place at Greengates Primary last year. Parklands have had to reluctantly open a second reception class to cope with the high demand. This will obviously impact on families already living in the area as well as those potentially moving in.”
Local child minder Rebecca Partridge, of Apperley Road, was shocked when a letter from Miller Homes came through her door last week.
She said: “Two new housing developments are already planned within a mile of here. The idea that another is being considered is just preposterous.
“What kind of message is that for future generations? Using up all the green space for yet more building projects. I don’t think it sets a good example do you?”
Residents have also expressed concern about how the transport infrastructure will cope.
Some have said that linking the proposed housing onto the “already struggling” Apperley Road will lead to increased congestion.
Ms Taylor, whose home looks onto the development site, added: “The area currently suffers from congestion problems which residents had hoped would be alleviated by the train station reopening next year.
“There has been a plan to improve traffic flow at the Greengates junction to ease Apperley Road’s current problems.
“This plan has been mooted for several years but has so far hit insurmountable stumbling blocks.”
Local business owner David Howcroft, of Madeley Dairies, said: “The traffic on Apperley Road is already horrendous.
“Many people use it as a rat run despite it being single lane over the canal bridge. In fact one of my vans was written off by a careless speeding motorist whilst it was parked outside my house. Upwards of 500 more cars on the roads would be far more than the infrastructure can cope with.”
Last Thursday’s exhibition included a visit by local pre-school children in their homemade ‘Cowses (cows) not Houses’ t-shirts. The slogan was the idea of three-year-old Lottie, daughter of Jo Taylor.
Miller Homes were contacted for a comment but no-one was available.
A leaflet produced by Miller Homes and sent to local householders described the scheme as a residential development for “circa 275 homes” on land at Simpsons Green. The area of land is described as to the north of Apperley Road up to Mitchell Lane. The scheme would include “public open space,” according to the developer.
It is believed that the development may consist of four and five-bed properties. A petition against the scheme is now circulating in Apperley Bridge.