Bradford Planning Matters

Ilkley Moor, Bradford West Yorkshire

Bradford is defined by its narrow, glacial river valleys, principally the Wharfe and the Aire, and the Worth which flows into the Aire at Keighley. Between these are the high ground of Rombalds Moor, Keighley Moor and Haworth Moor. Most of these uplands also fall within the South Pennines Special Area of Conversation, and there are proposals for a South Pennines Regional Park to plug the gap in the landscape protection of the uplands between the Peak District and the Yorkshire Dales National Parks.

This distinctive geography creates a chain of settlements along the valleys running down into Bradford city. Some of these, such as Silsden, have seen rapid expansion through new development in the 2000s, and others, such as Burley-in-Wharfedale, are also under increasing development pressure. Saltaire is a World Heritage Site that is also perhaps one of the finest examples of what good urban planning is capable of. But all these settlements are plagued by road congestion, and there are significant areas of flood risk too, so the climate challenge is of great concern to the area.

Bradford’s amazing cultural and ethnic diversity is a huge contributor to its character, though different communities experience very different social wellbeing, which is reflected in their differing connections to the countryside and their unequal vulnerability to environmental problems such as air pollution and access to green space.

Areas to the south and east of Bradford city are also under great environmental pressure from motorways, major roads and associated development corridors, with the proposed South-East Bradford Link Road being a particular concern for CPRE, as it will carve through the remaining open, Green Belt-protected stretch of landscape between Bradford and Leeds.