Green Belt policy labelled ‘bonkers’ during discussion on plans for Queensbury holiday accommodation

Station Road in Queensbury
Station Road in Queensbury

A councillor has labelled Green Belt policies “bonkers” after a panel were forced to refuse plans they supported.

Members of Bradford Council’s Bradford Area Planning Panel were ready to approve plans to convert a barn on the outskirts of Queensbury, and in the Green Belt, into holiday accommodation.

But because of the site’s location, planning officers told them they would need to think of “exceptional circumstances” to allow a non-agricultural developments in the Green Belt.

It meant they had to refuse the plans.

The application was for Clayton Edge Farm, on Station Road, and had been submitted by Michael Pensavalle.

Planning officers had recommended the plans for refusal, saying a residential use was inappropriate for the Green Belt and would lead to an “intensification of use of a substandard unadopted highway.”

The building had been constructed for agricultural use, on the planning condition that if it is not used for that purpose for longer than a year it would have to be demolished.

The new application was to change the use of half of the barn into a holiday let, and keep the other half for parking and storage of agricultural equipment.

A similar application to convert the barn into two holiday lets was refused in 2017, and that refusal was supported by a Government inspector when it went to appeal.

Mr Pensaville told the committee the plans had addressed the reasons the last application was refused, and said the Council should be doing “everything in its power” to promote tourism businesses like this.

Councillor Riaz Ahmed (Lib Dem, Bradford Moor) said: “We keep talking about Green Belt when, as a Council, we are allowing hundreds and hundreds of homes to be built on Green Belt. I don’t see a problem with allowing this small business.”

He said the claim that the small business would cause highway safety issues “beggars belief.”

When planning officers advised members that they would need to provide “exceptional circumstances” to allow a residential development on Green Belt, Councillor Alan Wainwright (Lab, Tong) said; “This shows how stupid Green Belt legislation is.

“It was set up to stop towns and villages from merging. In Tong you see houses being built up right to the edge of Green Belt. It doesn’t stack up to me.

“To say that they might have to demolish this building is bonkers. I see nothing wrong with this.”

Members recommended the plans for approval, but when asked what the “exceptional circumstances” were, they were unable to justify approving a residential use in Green Belt.

They reluctantly refused the application.