Developers want bigger bridge

Published: Monday, 09 November 2009

DEVELOPERS on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal want a swing bridge scrapping and the waterway diverted so a fixed bridge can be installed.

It was five years ago that narrowboatworld reported that a plan to build houses on a green field site by the Leeds & Liverpool Canal at Micklethwaite was thrown out owing to overwhelming opposition.  But after a five years moratorium on building on the site, Bellway and Redrow are seeking outline planning permission from Bradford Council to build 400 houses, and there is a call for the  swing bridge to be scrapped and a 'short diversion' of the waterway, Alan Tilbury reports.

The companies held a public consultation with residents last month which sparked widespread opposition. But they state that they will be lodging an outline planning application with Bradford Council this week.

But joining the opposition to the plan is constituency MP Philip Davies , who last week in Parliament voiced his opposition to development of open land, citing Micklethwaite as an example where the Government was allowing the countryside to be concreted over.
He has called on people to register their opposition so the Council is aware of the strength of opposition, and exclaimed:

"Scrapping the regional house building targets imposed by the Government on local authorities would be an extremely helpful start.  We have housing targets imposed on councils, in Bradford they have to build 50,000 houses by 2020.

"What is even more galling is that by the Government's own admission one third of housing will be needed for future immigration. If Government got a grip of immigration this would not be needed."

This however will have a great effect on the waterway, for the inspector in his 2003 decision pointed out that the single lane swing bridge across the canal in Micklethwaite Lane was not adequate to take the extra traffic, and a fixed bridge would be better, but would need a short canal diversion.

British Waterways was against building a two lane swing bridge because of the cost and longer time to operate, and should planning permission be granted a fixed bridge would be erected, which however would need much more than a 'short canal diversion' in view of the contour of the land.