Where to put 700 dwellings

The consultation about future housing locations in Thornton and the rest of the Metropolitan District wasn’t about do we agree with the number, but was about where should they be built.  The consultation has finished.  In due course the Council’s draft proposals will be published.

Comments about infrastructure such as lack of school places, transport, lack of heath facilities will be disregarded.  Thornton will be getting 700 new dwellings (houses or flats), whether we like it or not.  The independent planning inspector who examined Bradford Council’s Core Strategy has approved it.  His report can be seen here.

We’ve just given you the facts, not wishing to influence your comments, but we’ve been asked to give possibilities.  Wherever they go some people will be pleased, e.g. landowners and those areas not getting them, other’s won’t be pleased.

Suggestions of areas to be developed first  all areas listed by the Council’s reference (TH/001 etc) and brief description of location. Number in brackets is potential number of dwellings.  They’re listed in numerical order within each section, and in order of brownfield sites, then sites with planning permission in the past, and then green-field or Green Belt sites

Previously used land (brownfield sites) and sites which have received planning permission in recent years.

The main areas of previously used land are

  • TH/001 Thornton Road, Kellet Drive, Woodsley Fold (122); (now built)
  • TH/002, west of cemetery inc former water treatment works (48);
  • TH/012  Prospect and Dole Mills site (81);
  • TH/015 derelict former Downs Coulter’s building and surrounding land, James Street (27); 
  • TH/018 site of former R.C. Church and hall (13);
  • TH/026, garden of Station House (3);
  • TH/021 and TH/027, previously partly developed for business use now offered for housing, west of Myers builder’s merchants (214). 

That’s a total of 508 dwellings.  (TH/002, TH/012, TH/015, and TH/026 have also received Planning permission in the past).    

The other areas which have received planning permission in recent years are:

  • TH/004 land off Sapgate Lane below Oak Hall Park (17);
  • TH/017 land off Valentine Court and Cliffe Lane (9); (planning permission granted in 2017 for these dwellings)
  • TH/011 Old Road, Allerton View, Buffham Pastures (64) (being built)

Total 90, running total 598, or 102 short, and note the figures include some areas built or finished since the start of the building period. 2013, but they have been listed by the Council in the consultation so we include them

There are 3 alternatives of where the required 102 should come from: 1. some land south of Thornton Road, 2. Open fields on the hillside between Hill Top Road and Thornton Road, or 3 Land off Springholes Lane and Back Lane.

1.  Land south of Thornton Road 

  • TH006 land by lay-by by bus-stop, east of (lower) Coach Lane (19);  
  • TH/007 land below Thornton Road adjoining east side of (lower) Green Lane, down to the public footpath (62);  
  • TH/023 land to the east of Prospect Mill land, below Ashfield House, adjoining (lower) Green Lane (28). 

Total 109, running total 707.  These sites are not on steep sloping land and would be reasonably easily developed.


2.  Open fields on the steeply sloping hillside between Hill Top Road and Thornton Road,

  • TH/003 from the cemetery to the Bowling Green, cutting across Greenspace almost to Hill Top Road (171 dwellings),
  • TH/009 land off Hill Top Road below and in front of existing dwellings, meeting TH/003  ( 40.5 dwellings);
  • TH/010 Land below Hill Top Road leading downhill to the top of the Bowling Green and current allotments, land incudes previous allotments (55 dwellings) 

Total 266 dwellings.     We don’t like this option as Thornton needs Green space.  We need more allotments not fewer.  However, there would be the possibility of building dwellings just on the frontage of Hill Top Road and Thornton Road, and perhaps in Albion Mill field.  Albion Mill field is previously used land, but not listed as such by the Council’s strategic planners.  Current Supplementary Planning Guidance, the “Local Development Framework for Bradford, Landscape Character, Supplementary Planning Document, Volume 6: Thornton and Queensbury” states, “Small settlements on ridges or linear settlements along transport corridors are also a characteristic element in this character area and any new development could be used to reflect this character in the landscape” and “The ‘standard’ design approach of suburban housing from the volume builders would be inappropriate in this situation.”


3.  Land off Springholes Lane and / or Back Lane  (All land in the Green Belt), although TH/019 is previously used land, the site of the former Thornton Isolation Hospital, though not mentioned as such by the Council’s strategic planners).    It would be easy to have all the proposed sites on Springholes Lane and Back Lane developed.  They would provide about 352 dwellings.

The main problem of all the sites in this area is the highway system leading to Back Lane.   If development takes place to the north of Back Lane, then Back Lane would be widened, paid for by the developers, but parts of it can’t physicaly be widened, such as the stretch from the corner by Valentine Court to Sapgate Lane, and the Sapgate Lane junction.

Some drivers already hurtle down Sapgate Lane and Northcliffe Lane.  In the last 9 months 3 cats have been killed on Northcliffe Lane by such drivers; they could have been 3 children.  There’s a case for traffic calming there now.  Another pinch point is between Hobb End and East View, a blind bend which cannot be improved. There are access problems from West Lane – the blind bend on a steep hill just before West Lane meets Wicken Lane.  The alternate access route would be via narrow residential roads like Leaside Drive, Hillcrest Road, Harcourt Avenue, Alpine Rise.  Access to Hill Top Road is not easy either.

OR any combination of the 3.

Two other housing points:

Land that should not be developed within the 700:

  • TH/005 Land off Cragg Lane.  Cragg Lane is in a rural area within the Green Belt, not being on a bus route or having street lighting..
  • TH/008 is land on Old Road leading to Pitty Beck.  Current Supplementary Planning Guidamce, the “Local Development Framework for Bradford, Landscape Character, Supplementary Planning Document, Volume 6: Thornton and Queensbury”. states ”  There is little potential for development on the edge of Bradford where it is essential to keep the green fingers of Leventhorpe, Pitty Beck and Clayton Beck extending into the Urban areas.” and “An expanded Thornton could continue to develop into a massive urban promontory of Bradford. These green ‘fingers’ extending into the urban core all around the western edge of Bradford are very important to the regional character of the district.
  • TH/024  is below the public footpath below site TH/007 in rural Green Belt.
  • TH/028 is an isolated piece of land in the Green Belt fronting on to Northcliffe Lane.

AND if you agree with us about the steeply sloping land in section 2. (above)

  • TH/003, except for infilll to the frontage of Thornton Road, ensuring access for livestock to the fields
  • TH/009, except for infill on the immediate frontage of Hill Top Road, ensuring access for livestock to the fields
  • TH/010, except perhaps infill on the immediate frontage of Hill Top Road, but retaining as allotments the land bought for allotments.

The other point is that we should be encouraging the use of ultra high speed broadband to reduce the number of people needing to travel to offices to work.  Throughout the world ‘smart’ offices,  built on the edge of city centres reduce travel needs of office workers,.  Bradford Council plans to build a ‘smart’ office in the City Centre, which defeats the purpose of them, to reduce travel.


Green Spaces Using the majority of sites btween the Hill Top Road and Thornton Road for housing, and the east side of the cemetery in the west, and behind properties on Moss Street leading down to the allotments and Bowling Green in the east would take away the openness and character of ThorntonWe need to keep the existing green spaces, and increase them, by keeping and rejuvenating TH/010 the former allotment land as allotments.

Employment land. The land to the west of Myer’s Builders’ Merchants has been reserved for Employment land in previous Development Plans, including the Unitary Development Plan and the Revised Unitary Development Plan.  The land has been put forward for housing as attempts to develop the land for employment has been unsuccessful.  The  failure to develop this land for employment would seem to indicate that no employment land is required, but we leave that for you to decide, as indeed whether any of Thornton land should be reserved for gypsies, travelling show people, or retail use.

(Last updated July 7, 2017, to take out references to the Interactive Map, and Comments Form which are no longer avilable)