“Of course not” was the unequivocal reply of independent flooding and drainage expert, Dr Duncan Reed , when asked at last Thursday’s (29 Jan) meeting of the Bradford Council Regulatory & Appeals Committee whether he would buy a house on the proposed Bingley Road, Menston, housing development. Having heard also a warning from solicitor for the Menston Action Group, Chris Schofield, “Put simply, if you get this wrong, householders and their insurers are entitled to hold you legally responsible”, the committee did not approve the scheme.
Reports show a purchase would be foolish
You do not have to be an expert to conclude from a careful reading of Dr Reed’s report, and that of Professor David Rhodes before this, that anyone buying a house on this development would be very foolish. It is clear that the Bradford Council officers advising councillors to go ahead did not, do not, have the necessary expertise to give that advice. This in itself is no reflection on them: flooding resulting from situations like that of Menston is only just beginning to be understood.
Of course this is not likely to be the end of the matter; there is a lot of money to be made, and not only by the developers, but almost certainly also by a small group of individuals who have backed the scheme from the start. The developer’s agent has already indicated that if they do not appeal against last week’s decision they may instead proceed with another application for the same site.
Objectors to the R&A committee decision who commented on the Telegraph & Argus news report (in particular ‘Toni’ – who insists this is her/his real name), are completely wrong when they say, or imply, that those opposing the planned developments are a few wealthy ‘nimbys’ who would be directly affected by the flooding. By far the larger proportion of Menston residents who voted overwhelmingly against the Bingley Road and other developments in the referendum on the matter, would not be directly affected by the consequent flooding, nor are the developments in ‘their back yards’, nor are they ‘wealthy’. What these residents would be seriously affected by would be the overloading of already stretched health, educational facilities and transport and the irreparable damage to one of Yorkshire’s special attractions – village life in the individual communities which are scattered throughout the vast Bradford metropolitan area.
However, faced with a Council which thinks nothing of destroying its villages and semi-rural communities, and not only Menston, and developers and ‘Tonis’ who care even less, the stupidity of building on areas prone to flooding was the most likely reason for the Council to stop the developments if Councillors could be made to listen to the overwhelming evidence, which previously they have refused to do.
We now await the outcome of the recent High Court hearing on the other similarly foolish planned development, off Derry Hill, Menston.
For all the background, go to the Menston Action Group website: menstonactiongroup.wordpress.com. You can always get to the MAG website using the link in the right sidebar.