Sun Lane Development – Planning Inquiry

Published: 13 May 2019

The Sun Lane Inquiry which was originally scheduled to be held at City Hall Bradford was finally held at the Queens Hall last month. This change of location was made possible following a petition which was signed by over 2,700 Burley residents.

The inquiry was well attended throughout its duration, with many members of the Burley community managing to spend some time listening to some of the debates. The government appointed inspector (David Wildsmith) granted the Burley Objectors Group permission to question both CEG (the developer) and Bradford Council. The whole process including questioning took was conducted over three days and the process was well practiced with meticulous attention to detail throughout.

The Burley Objectors Group’s speakers expressed their views and were subject to cross examination. Key topics included: ecology, exceptional circumstances, transport, education, green belt and brown field, archaeology, objective assessment of needs, population, employment, earnings, house pricing and demographics.

Part of the inquiry also included a visit to the Sun Lane site, the nature reserve, as well as a walk around Burley. The inspector didn’t want to hear any new evidence during this site visit and was accompanied by a member of Burley Objectors Group, Bradford Council and expert consultants for CEG. What became quite clear was that the Planning Inspector had previously visited Burley over previous weekends and weekdays. He was acutely aware of traffic, parking and transport issues. He had driven in rush hours and had visited Burley’s surrounding areas.

From all the debate, there are two topics that merit highlighting at this stage:

1) The school

Bradford Council cannot provide a guarantee that a school will be delivered at Sun Lane.

In addition, Ilkley Grammar School have no further room to expand, so an additional 2,400 homes planned between Addingham and Menston will quickly fill the finite number of places created at IGS.

2) Affordable homes

Regardless of which side of the Sun Lane debate you stand, there’s one thing that everyone anticipates will happen – affordable homes will be delivered. However CEG do not agree with the Bradford Core Strategy and our Neighbourhood Plan policy which seeks to deliver up to 150 affordable homes in the village. If affordable housing fails to sell within a prescribed period, CEG would commute the “affordable percentage” of the house price to Bradford Council, and then Bradford Council could then use this to build affordable homes anywhere within the Bradford District. By way of example, a £280,000 home could be made affordable with an £80,000 discount. If the house didn’t sell, the house would be sold at full price and the £80,000 would be commuted to Bradford Council to build affordable homes wherever in the Bradford district they are most needed. This approach is acceptable to the secretary of state.

Next Steps

The Inspector has now indicated that his report will be submitted to the Secretary of State on or before 2nd August 2019.