Wind turbine threat looms over Menston – literally!

A Planning Application is pending (through Leeds City Council) for the construction of a 74 metre-high (245 ft.) wind turbine on the high land behind High Royds Hall.

The proposed site is adjacent to the quarry, between Hawksworth village, Tranmere Park (Guiseley) and High Royds, and sits just below The Odda. The area enjoys Special Landscape Area status and such is the elevation of the moorside that the erection of a turbine of such height would lead to its domination of the entire landscape, and the turbine would be visible for many miles around.  The applicant is the owner/operator of the quarry, and it is rumoured that this one turbine is a test case, with a further SIX to follow Continue reading

MENSTON: over 300 new homes approved – but it’s not over yet!

Two significant meetings have recently been held, relating to plans for development on green fields at Bingley Road and Derry Hill, Menston.

1.  Regulatory & Appeals Committee, Thurs 4 April 2013
The Committee (formerly known as the Planning Panel) was held as a result of Menston’s pressure on Bradford Council to reconsider the February 2012 decision to approve construction. Menston felt reconsideration was necessary because of three significant developments 1) the National Planning Policy Framework in April 2012,  2) the revocation of the Regional Spatial Strategy in April 2013,  and, most importantly 3) the significant flooding in Menston over the summer of  2012, particularly in  September when raw sewage ran through Main Street.

Bradford Council, because it had not signed-off the final Certificate despite the passage of 12 months, reluctantly agreed that these matters made it necessary to re-determine the Planning Applications.  The Committee convened at 10am on, Thursday 4 Apri,l at Bradfrod City Hall, with around 22 Menston residents present, inslucing representatives from  Menston Community Association (MCA), Menston Action Group (MAG) and Menston Parish Council (MPC).

The meeting was opened by the Chair, Coun. Warburton, who confirmed Continue reading

National Exposure

Menston achieved national exposure for its planning issues in The Independent on Saturday 1st December 2012.  The article appears below.

When new planning minister Nick Boles evoked the moral right of every British family to own a home with a small garden this week, he could scarcely have imagined a more desirable place to build those dream dwellings than Menston. Continue reading

VILLAGE GREENS and how to establish them: part 4: The verdict

Menston: the decision on the Village Green Application for Derry Hill Fields

The Report of the Planning Inspector (David Manley QC) was delivered to us in the afternoon of Tuesday 9 October.  It made disappointing reading.

During the course of the Public Inquiry (13 – 17 August 2012), the Inspector had heard verbal evidence from 21 of the Applicant’s witnesses (Menston residents) and had received written and photographic evidence from some 30 more.  All these witnesses had used the fields for recreational purposes, often with family members.  The Inspector Continue reading

VILLAGE GREENS and how to establish them: part 3

On Day 3 of the Public Inquiry at Menston (Wed 15 August 2012), it was the Objectors’ turn to give evidence, with the clear purpose of making sure the fields could not be considered Village Green, and therefore enabling the developer to proceed with construction.

For the landowner (a Chartered Surveyor and Estate Agent – not a farmer), he denied having seen any significant use of the fields by members of the public other than Continue reading

VILLAGE GREENS and how to establish them: part 2

In the case of Derry Hill Fields at Menston, for which an Application was made (to the local Registration Authority, Bradford Council) some 80+ witnesses submitted written evidence to show that they, their family members and other residents to their knowledge, had made use of the fields for recreational purposes.  Menston being a small community, and these fields being on one side of the village, we believe that the numbers of people regularly using the fields for these recreational purposes is sufficient to meet the legal test for a Village Green. Continue reading

Secretary of State rejects request to call-in Menston plans

Unfortunately, the Secretary of State for Communities & Local Government has decided not to use his powers to “call-in” the two Menston Planning Applications (Derry Hill and Bingley Road) for his own scrutiny.  Apparently, whether there has been procedural error or maladministration (as many of us believe), Ministers take the view that there are no national policy implications in the plans which would cause the Secretary of State to take the power of determination away from Bradford Council.

In the reply on behalf of the Secretary of State, the National Planning Casework Unit sets out a reminder that the local authority – in this case, Bradford – has a responsibility to consider whether the development requires a comprehensive Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).  There is no evidence that Bradford MDC has conducted an EIA: if it has, then it has not published it on its website and, thus, would have failed to consult.  If a comprehensive EIA was to be conducted, then it would be obvious that the land under the brow of the moorland ridge (where both the Derry Hill and Bingley Road sites are located) is subject to retention of groundwater to the point of saturation, and that construction on those sites would lead to an increase in drainage problems and an exacerbation of the flooding frequently experienced by local properties.

Menston’s representative bodies half-expected that the Secretary of State would look at the plans but decide not to intervene, so progress continues towards the Judicial Review of both Planning Applications.

The Fight Goes On For Menston

Greg Clark and Philip Davies in Menston 2010 (Source:Telegraph & Argus)

At the Planning Panel on 28 February, the expert evidence provided to Bradford Council by Menston’s resident representatives, and Bradford Council’s own expert evidence (relating to drainage, flooding and traffic generation) was ignored.  The Panel, therefore, took a decision which flew in the face of the evidence about the inappropriateness and lack of sustainability of construction on the two Menston sites. Continue reading