CONTROVERSIAL plans to build a new cemetery in a rural part of the district are at risk of being turned down next week.
An application to create a multi-denominational cemetery on Old Allen Road, between Thornton and Wilsden, was submitted to Bradford Council in the summer of 2020.
Since then it has drawn more than 650 objections, including one from Shipley MP Philip Davies and another from Wilsden Parish Council.
When members of the council’s regulatory and appeals committee meet to decide on plans on Thursday, planning officers will urge them to turn down the proposals for a variety of reasons, from impacting the surrounding countryside to increasing the traffic that the cemetery would bring to the isolated area.
Submitted by Amar Hussain, the request said the site would provide 1,000 burial spaces, a tranquility garden and parking for 35 vehicles.
He acknowledged that the site was within the green belt, but argued that there were few non-green belt sites in the district suitable for a cemetery.
Responding to the request, Shipley MP Philip Davies said: ‘I am particularly concerned that the narrow roads nearby are not suitable for much traffic and there are only 35 spaces parking lot and nearby roads are not suitable for overflow parking It’s in the greenbelt, there is no public transit, no sidewalk on Old Allen Road and there will be a negative impact on wildlife.
Other opponents said the cemetery would affect the price of their homes, that it could lead to an increase in anti-social behavior and that the roads around the site would not be accompanied by funeral traffic.
Others have argued that cemeteries should be built on urban brownfields, not in the countryside.
Roads officials have raised serious concerns about the plans. They pointed out that with no pedestrian routes to the site – and the nearest bus route is over a mile and a half away – the vast majority of mourners would likely come to the cemetery by car.
They argue that it would be likely that a large funeral would result in excessive parking on the surrounding narrow roads.
Their report states: “The site is in a remote, rural and unsustainable location and it is highly likely that all participants will be traveling by car.
“Old Allen Road and all roads in this vicinity are rural/semi-rural with no sidewalks, no street lights and narrow widths.
“There has been a high number of accidents at the junction of Back Lane with Allerton Road – a close junction, with 10 road accidents recorded over the last three years, plus two more approaching the junction.
“The proposal would likely lead to increased use of these rural roads and sub-standard junctions.”
Officers are recommending that the plans be refused for five reasons – that it is an inappropriate development within the green belt, that it would not conform to the Thornton and Queensbury Landscape Character Area, that it would harm to nearby listed buildings, that increased traffic in sight would cause road safety concerns and that increased visitor numbers would adversely affect local residential amenities.