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19/02242/MAF | Securing and infilling of the shafts and entrances of Queensbury Tunnel | Queensbury Tunnel Queensbury Bradford West Yorkshire
  • Total Consulted: 22
  • Comments Received: 3857
  • Objections: 3801
  • Supporting: 50
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. CPRE West Yorkshire (Objects)

Comment submitted date: Thu 19 Sep 2019

CPRE West Yorkshire objects to this planning application for the reasons set out below.

The Council's own Local Plan team (5th August) eloquently makes the planning case against this application. The proposals would remove any future prospect of the tunnel being put to use as an active travel route, and the Council's City-Connect 3 advocacy document makes a clear rationale for the tunnel to be opened up and restored for that purpose. The Local Plan team also identify the Core Strategy policies that would be severely undermined by the abandonment of the tunnel regarding sustainable travel and modal shift, the loss of an economic and tourism opportunity, and the heritage value of the tunnel. Furthermore, you will already be aware of the tunnel featuring in the Victorian Society's list of heritage structures most at risk.

The Core Strategy Partial Review reflects the Council's declaration of a climate emergency, and we warmly welcome Bradford's leadership on this issue. The review strengthens the role of planning in responding to the climate challenge, and also the role of active travel in promoting public health and tackling inequalities. In this context, we believe that Queensbury Tunnel has great potential to be a flagship scheme within a bigger initiative to boost active travel by increasing both the connectivity and the profile of the active travel network.

We note that Calderdale Council have also expressed their objection passionately and unequivocally: "this proposal represents the kind of short-term thinking that is at odds with the excellent work that is being carried out by both Councils to facilitate sustainable travel between settlements". It is rare that a local authority uses such powerful language in opposition to a planning application, and in our view this reflects the importance of this case, only amplified by the huge numbers of community objections.

It is clear that abandonment and restoration both require significant engineering work. The relative merits and costs of these solutions are not for CPRE to judge. However, whilst the necessary funding to restore and reopen the tunnel may not yet have been secured, the political will to do so is plainly evident, and it would be grossly short-sighted to undertake an abandonment scheme now that would preclude the restoration scheme that could become financially viable in the near future.

It is abundantly clear that the only beneficiary of the tunnel's abandonment would be the applicant. There would be no benefit to the communities of Queensbury or the wider area within Bradford and Calderdale. By contrast, restoring and reopening the tunnel as an active travel route, whilst inevitably more expensive in terms of the initial engineering works, would have enormous benefits to many thousands of people for decades to come.

We hope that you will give this application the short shrift it deserves, and ask you to refuse it.

Mrs Rose Ashburne (Objects)

Comment submitted date: Wed 18 Sep 2019

If it costs as much to close it as to keep it open surely it is
much preferable to utilise it and let families and commuters benefit.
Not to mention saving our fast dwindling heritage buildings.

Comment submitted date: Thu 06 Jun 2019

this would be a huge benefit to local people and tourists alike if
it became a family friendly cycle/walking path.
anything that helps families have out door fun together away
from their computers would be a good thing.
The money put aside for the destruction of this iconic tunnel
could be put to better use in saving it.

Mrs Faye Craven (Objects)

Comment submitted date: Wed 18 Sep 2019

Given the current pressures on public services, it strikes me as disgraceful that Highways England is proposing to waste 6M of public money destroying Queensbury Tunnel.
The Department for Transport, on whose behalf it acts, recognises the importance of walking and cycling, and is committed to encouraging it by providing more, safe, high-quality infrastructure. Highways England has a multi-million pound ring-fenced fund for exactly this purpose. So there is a ridiculous conflict between their stated aspirations for sustainable transport and their actions in relation to the tunnel.
Highways England tells anyone who'll listen that the tunnel is a threat to the community, but cannot offer any proper evidence to support that claim. It is in the process of spending more than 2M strengthening the worst areas of the tunnel and could use the rest of its abandonment budget to make permanent repairs which would greatly reduce the risks.
Instead it is clearly determined to put the tunnel beyond future use, allow most of it to collapse below Queensbury and inflict long-term uncertainty on those who live above.
This is a deeply flawed strategy which the Council must reject.

Mr Dave Taylor (Objects)

Comment submitted date: Wed 18 Sep 2019

The first substantive clause of the National Planning Policy Framework states that "the objective of sustainable development can be summarised as meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."

This planning application should be rejected on those grounds alone. At a time of climate emergency, it is reckless to wilfully destroy a public asset which could establish an active travel link between two large population centres. In the years to come, the importance and value of assets such as this will increase exponentially as we seek to meet our environmental and health obligations.

On a more practical level, it should be noted that the Applicant has been unable to provide any technical modelling to demonstrate that the risks of ground settlement and flooding are of an acceptable level. Instead it is relying on assumption, guesswork and empirical judgement. There will be no opportunity for remedial action if it gets this wrong - abandonment must be right first time and, based on its past performance, the public has no cause for any confidence in the Applicant's abilities.

Mr Stephen Ashburne (Objects)

Comment submitted date: Wed 18 Sep 2019

It would be a huge mistake to infill this tunnel. The health and tourism benefits far out way this proposal.

Comment submitted date: Wed 03 Jul 2019

It needs opening for the common good not filling in.

Comment submitted date: Wed 26 Jun 2019

The amount of disruption has not been thoroughly thought through. Their must be a difference between rigid and articulated vehicles in relation to their load carrying and turning area limitations. The application is therefore severely compromised.

Comment submitted date: Thu 06 Jun 2019

It will unquestionably be an asset to the local people and councils and on a wider scale to tourism for the wider area.

Mr Connor Diamond (Objects)

Comment submitted date: Wed 18 Sep 2019

This tunnel would be much better suited as a cycleway and would bring tourism to the area as well as encouraging people to get out and get active. The Highyways England project could cost up to 6 million. Think of all the cost savings that could be made with the tunnel!

Miss Catherine Talbot (Objects)

Comment submitted date: Tue 17 Sep 2019

Heritage sites such as these are only here once: we can't just let this deteriorate. Please don't destroy cultural heritage sites!

Mrs Lyndsey Fallows (Objects)

Comment submitted date: Sun 15 Sep 2019

When there is already too much traffic on the road already and not enough open space to cycle it would be a terrible waste for this space not to be utilised for cycling / walking. For future generations to get healthier & fitter the tunnel needs to stay open and usable!

Mr Martin Dearnley (Objects)

Comment submitted date: Sun 15 Sep 2019

The success of the use of the tunnel between Dewsbury and Ossett and the increased walking and cycling means that this tunnel should be opened as an amenity available for walkers and cycling. To fill it in would be a crime.

Mr Tim Palliser (Objects)

Comment submitted date: Sun 15 Sep 2019


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