Changes to the planning applications at Milnerfield Farm in Gilstead have resulted in many local people wrongly believing the farm has been saved and that both applications have been withdrawn.
Since late 2015, there have been two planning applications (15/05552/FUL and 15/05538/MAF) proposed for Milnerfield Farm. One sought to change the use of the land and the other was for the construction of a business park.
On 26th January, application 15/05552/FUL was withdrawn by the developer and Bradford Council Planning Department sent an automated letter to all objectors informing them of this.
However, the letter indicated that 15/05538/MAF had in fact been withdrawn and that all objections would no longer be valid.
Matt Edwards from Bingley Green Party emailed the Council to clarify the situation and as a result they have sent a second letter to objectors attempting to clarify the situation.
Matt has explained: “I am pleased that planners have accepted that the first letter in confusing. However, they are restricted by the limitations of the planning application system and the second letter has done little to clarify the situation.”
Matt has also said “the farm has been an important part of the local economy in Gilstead for over 100 years. There are currently over 1000 objections from local people who want to protect the greenbelt around their village. They do not want the extra traffic along their quiet residential roads”
“Many people are also concerned that this is a slippery slope. The landowner has repeatedly tried to have the land allocated for housing and people are concerned that this application is part of his long term plan.”
In February 2016, Natalie Bennett who was then leader of the Green Party visited the farm to lend her support to the Downs family. She said "this is a successful small business, one that is producing food for the local area - we need to protect our local dairy farms."
Both applications were put forward by the London based landowner Hartley Property Group.
The Downs family have run the farm since the time when the farm was part of the Saltaire Estate.
For more information on the planning applications click here.