From Our Newsletter
and Summer Programme
The weather has been
variable, with seasons merging into one another.
The summer programme
has been well-supported, and has drawn people from outside the group and area,
The publicity from the T&A, Yorkshire Post and our website has been
Several people came on our bluebell walk (with Joy) including a
couple from Wakefield.
Bluebells - Hirst Wood
The open day at
Shipley Station meadow was well supported with visitors from the Scottish
Borders and Cheshire. (all touring Yorkshire)
There were narrow-bordered 5 spot Burnet moths flying, together with
Ringlet Butterflies, small Skippers but no Blues, reflecting the National
reduction in Blues.
Our visit to Dealburn
Road, Low Moor, to see the Bee Orchids was successful.
There were several orchids off the main path
but not in the area where they were originally seen last year.
There were no Bee
Orchids at the translocated site at Manywells, Cullingworth – There were
several Common Spotted Orchids. Bee Orchid
to 10 Common Blue Butterflies, including 2 females, were flying around the
site. We also saw Meadow Brown, Ringlet, Small Heath and several Skippers.
On one of the hottest
days of July our Marbled White walk turned out to be on the best day to see
Marbled Whites. Several people turned up
and saw a Marbled White.
There were also 2 female Blues in the Shipley meadow (seen and photographed). The Marbled Whites were over very quickly this year after being out so early.
The Big Butterfly Count from Bracken Hall failed to find many usual species. The Purple Hairstreaks had also been out early.
By the weekend of 15 - 16 July no more were seen. I gather they were out early elsewhere in Yorkshire – including Brockadale (several out in June).
The very warm spring brought out several other species early.
dismiss their own study confirming bees are harmed.’ Headline in The Times June 30.
It reported that bees are being
harmed by some of the most common pesticides according to a study that has been
attacked by the chemical companies that paid for it!
Bayer and Syngenta, which produce
neonicotinoid pesticides, have accused the scientists they commissioned of
over-stating the threat to honey bees and wild bees from their products!
During several tests the pesticides were
found to damage the reproduction of two species of wild bee, the buff-tailed
bumble bee and the red mason bee. The
study was published in ‘Science’.
(at the end of the Great Northern Trail)
Campaigners are fighting to save the tunnel
as a cycle path. They have released a
computer generated film of what the historic site could look like if it was
transformed. They want Bradford Council
to seize the opportunity to save this site – otherwise it will be filled in
Canal Road Corridor, Shipley
The Telegraph & Argus for 22 July contained an article on the Planning application for houses on the south end of the car park (in the field outside the station) and for a proposal to put a new access road bridge over the Beck. ( We did not object to the car park if we could have an area in the field rescued for a wildlife and butterfly area.) The article stated planning permission had been granted without the need to take it to a Planning meeting.
I am hoping to pursue this information in due course. The problem is there are too many sections of the Council involved in the development of the corridor, and I have been informed that Skipton Properties are not building the car park. So all those thing are pending.
The Canal Road Corridor Action Plan
Andrew Marshall and his team who are dealing with the Local Plans have now put out some ‘modifications’ of the Canal Road Action Plan. I have been through the documents in the library and sent comments to the Council. I am still not sure how much of this plan will be considered by Skipton Properties or any other developer involved. (The plan puts out a Butterfly Express and Nectar Highway down the Corridor.) Again, all this is pending
The results of the flooding problem of the beck examined by Inspector Louise Nurser in Bradford Town Hall last March are still not available and, in the meantime, permission has been given for a road bridge over the Beck. The flooding problem remains.
Milner Fields, Gilstead
In the last newsletter I revealed that Planning Application by the Applicants (Alan Lewis and his Hartley Trust) to build a High Tech Innovation Centre on the farm was due to go through the Council’s Regulatory and Appeals Committee on possibly Thursday 27 April (the date changed twice) in Bradford Town Hall main chamber. As one of a splendid coalition of groups objecting we were ready for this meeting.
However, the Applicants withdrew their Planning Application only a day or two before the meeting. (We assume the Applicants were getting ‘cold feet’ and decided they were going to lose with all the opposition from the public and local groups.)
Of course, they are able to apply again within 12 months without having to pay another applicant fee – no doubt this is not finished. Alan Lewis and his group will think of something else in due course. We have to be on our guard. He obviously wants to build on Milner Fields Estate. He must be prevented from doing so at all costs.
Ferniehurst Dell, Baildon
The friends of the Dell are looking for people to help with the maintenance of the Dell.
If you want to help please phone Joe Ashton on 07989 692677.
New Homes Plan voted through
An article also in the T&A concerned a Council meeting in the City Hall’s Council Chamber when councillors debated the best way to earmark land for developers in the coming years for inclusion in the Local Plan. The Plan’s Core Strategy sets out the need for 42,100 new homes by 2030. However, Councillor Anne Hawkesworth (Ilkley) said Leeds City Council was now having to slash its housing targets by more than a fifth and urged Bradford to do the same. Councillor Alec Ross-Shaw mentioned that Bradford’s Core Strategy would only earmark two per cent of the Green Belt for development! - ‘This enables us to protect the rest of the Green Belt’ he said. The Council won a vote narrowly to ratify the Core Strategy. I still feel there will be more developers trying to build on the Green Belt.
Bracken Hall Countryside Centre
Another message from the Friends of Bracken Hall
Hello again. If you are around Shipley Glen on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon, please call in to Bracken Hall for a look around, a chat, a cuppa. The Centre is progressing well, with several ‘Friends’ and volunteers helping to run the opening Saturday and Sunday, 12 – 4pm. It would be nice if more of our members could offer to volunteer one afternoon Saturday / Sunday and it would be every so often and on a rota.
By the time this newsletter goes out, building work to create a better storage and work area should be complete and the classroom space should be easier to use for activities, schools and groups.
We are organising an Apple Weekend again on 21 and 22 October – activities, information, sales and delicious Bracken Hall Bramley apple crumble!
Greenhill Action Group
are still battling the development of over 400 homes in Sty Lane, Micklethwaite. The group are looking to recruit new members to closely scrutinise the major housing development plans. (The development was rubber-stamped after the Secretary of State agreed with Bradford Council’s granting of Outline Planning Permission last year.)
There are 40 conditions attached to the Planning Permission. (An eight day Public Inquiry was held in October 2015 and presided over by Planning Inspector, George Baird, who supported development). Greenhill Action Group are wanting new blood to pick up the baton and take the next and, quite possibly, final phase and attract new volunteers to organise the committee locally
The group which wants to ban blood sport on Ilkley Moor have renewed calls for a ban on grouse shooting because they say that figures emerge which reveal a decline in over half of protected breeding bird species on the moor. The group is asking the Council to not renew the lease for shooting on the moor when it is up for renewal in 2018. The Countryside Service (Danny Jackson) recently put out a consultation document , to which I responded with a letter.
The group called Ban Bloodsport Ilkley Moor, BBIM, report their figures are obtained from the RSPB Northern England office which show a decline in the moor’s population of specialist species including merlin, dunlin, and short-eared owl. (All this is from the T&A July 25 ‘17.) We have to ask if the RSPB has done a proper survey on Ilkley Moor? If figures are correct, are they due to actual grouse shooting or other reasons – climate change etc? Recently an article appeared in The Times which stated ‘Rare birds thrive on game shoots.’ A study found that moors that are managed for shooting have 24 times as many lapwings, 8 times as many golden plovers and 6 times as many curlews as similar sites without shooting rights.
Chris Packham is vice-president of the RSPB and he has said ‘driven grouse management is ecologically disastrous’.
So who is right on this matter? A list of birds which qualify the site under article 4.2 of the Birds Directive by supporting populations of the following ‘breeding bird assemblage’ gives – Dunlin, Common Sandpiper, Twite, Snipe, Curlew, Wheatear, Whinchat, Redshank, Ring Ouzel, Short-eared Owl and finally Lapwing.
This list is in the Ilkley Moor Management Plan 2016 – 2026 Consultation Draft from the Countryside & Rights of Way Section of the Council
This matter is up for debate. Susan
Roberts Park Survey
We have made several visits to the park to do surveys in order to suggest management to encourage wildlife. Tree surveys along the top – photographs have been taken and we will be having a committee meeting with the Friends of the park in due course. Hopefully we shall receive a donation to our group.
A warm and sunny September changed to a cold and frosty October. Leaves clung to the trees until shaken off in storms in e in the station meadow first and a few more outside up the big field.
Bees late November. We had a spectacular and prolonged display of autumn colours.
The first snow fell here on 9th November and there was a further fall on 13th November - the date for the annual grass cut at Shipley station - but the day was fine and not too cold
At the cut Alistair Taylor from Butterfly Conservation, who has a chainsaw certificate, carefully pruned the big willow in the far corner, which let in a lot more light. Our thanks to Alistair for helping in this way and for his hard work in cutting the grass, and pruning elsewhere in the meadow.
Milner Fields, Gilstead - update
We are still (in early December 2016) awaiting a result of the Planning Application to replace the existing Dairy Farm with a High Tech Innovation Centre.
The land is owned by Alan Lewis and his Company is dealing with the application. They insist that the land of Milner Field (Green Belt) is safe from development.
This is incorrect - the land has already been offered to the Council for development through the Allocations Document.
As we understand it, David Downs, the farmer, holds an Agricultural Tenancy, which is passed from father to son.
Planning permission for the change of use of the land and for the Innovation Centre of the farm could automatically end the tenancy forcing the farmer off the land.
On Friday November 25 the T&A reported that campaigners were planning a protest and that the application was still to come before the Council. There have been 1,184 comments on the Authority’s website.
On Saturday December 5 Val and Susan attended Milner Fields Farm to protest against the development. The organisers had arranged for 2 alpacas to be on show. Nick Salt, the great-great grandson of Sir Titus Salt was present in support
The T&A carried an article about the protest on Monday Dec. 5th.
Look North ran a disappointingly brief mention of the event.
The proposal will probably have to go through a Planning Inspector.
Canal Road Corridor, Shipley
The Bradford City Centre Action Plans and the Shipley and Canal Road Corridor Area Action Plan were examined by Inspector Louise Nurser at Victoria Hall, Saltaire in October 2016.
BUWG has concerns about the ecological impact of the proposed development.
The Action Plan contains proposals for a “nectar highway” and “butterfly express”, but how these would be implemented with so many houses to be built is unclear.
Susan Stead spoke at the hearing on Wednesday 19 October, 2016
Also at the meeting was a representative from the Canal and River Trust who was there to push for the plan to specify rewilding and restoration of the Beck and Canal.
We expect BUWG to be invited to a meeting on site, and to receive notice of an order to protect an area for butterflies.
The Core Strategy Document has now been delayed by Shipley MP, Philip Davies, who is concerned about threats to the Green Belt.
Two dates to discuss the risk of flooding from the Bradford Beck are due to be announced.
Helen Mead and the Telegraph & Argus
Helen’s article on the Shipley Marbled White Butterflies and our other activities went into the paper on Wednesday October 26 2016. Joan was asked about the Low Moor Bee Orchids.
The article featured a photograph of a Marbled White, and a shot of the ever- photogenic Les Barnett.
Ilkley Moor Management Plan 2016 – 2026 Consultation Draft.
The draft plan was available for consultation from Monday 10 October until Sunday 20 November, 2016.
Susan sent a response letter on behalf of BUWG. She made a points about the butterfly and moth species on the moor, the management of heather, the problem of grouse shooting, and Council funding.
A message from the Friends of Bracken Hall Countryside Centre
Good news that, at last, work is planned in the garden to restore the hedge and the coppice habitats. Check out our website for updates. We expect Ed Kyrke to work on the hedge over the first weekend of February – do take the opportunity to drop in, see what is going on and ask any questions.
Ian Butterfield and Forest of Bradford will deal with the coppice on the following Wednesday. They have recently been busy repairing a section of the drystone wall.
It was a beautiful day for our Boxing Day walk – cancelled last year as the floods rose. At the start, we planted a Lord Derby apple tree to improve the pollination of the two Bramleys on the site and took the opportunity to remember Mari Friend. John Friend hopes to visit in 2017 and share stories of their time at Bracken Hall.
The Friends group supports the Centre with practical help in the garden and building and by providing activities. Our next walk, Friday 13, will be led by Chris and Mervyn Flecknoe to Bingley and Back and we have a varied programme of walks for 2017. The Centre will be open as usual from 12:00 – 16:00 on the Saturday and Sunday.
We welcome new members, but our activities are open to all.
Schools are booking in, mainly for activities led by John Dallas.
or call in at the centre to give your views on future development and to find out about joining the rota.
Richard is applying for a Heritage Lottery Grant and would welcome a wide range of views.
Secretary, Friends of Bracken Hall Countryside Centre
Green Belt At Risk
In December 2015 the DCLG published a National Planning Policy Framework Consultation
It was the subject of an article in the Daily Telegraph for December 8 headlined ‘Build Homes on Green Belt’. The article highlighted changes which “threaten” thousands of new homes on Green Belt . This was described as the biggest relaxation of planning rules for 30 years.
The possible changes are set out in paragraphs 48-54 of the consultation document
They might have a bearing on the proposed Milner Fields development - which is a proposal for replacement of the farm buildings - a brownfield site in Green Belt- although not for new housing.( See below )
Weather and Butterflies
In 2015 there was a long extension of summer well into autumn.
The first half of November was the warmest recorded.
Butterflies were flying later than usual. At Trench
Meadows in September a Wall Brown butterfly was recorded - a species on the
Butterfly Conservation danger list. In October, a Common Blue was recorded at
the other side of the beck off the cycling track, Shipley. This is very late
for this species.
The Shipley Station grass cut was scheduled for 15 November, and the rain poured down all night.
Thankfully the weather brightened up and the wind dipped. My thanks are due to Matt who was prepared to come and do the work. Two Butterfly Conservation members came from Otley and did a marvellous job. Somehow five of us managed to do what was necessary. We may do some more tree pruning weather permitting.
The drainage in the meadow is very good and it is never as wet as some people think .
A representative from Northern Rail has offered to replace our information board with a new presentation (if necessary, new photographs and text).
The existing board has deteriorated due to weathering. It has been in use quite a long time and water has entered behind the glass.
The second half of November saw torrential rain delivered by storm “Abigail”, followed by a very wet December.
This culminated in widespread flooding in our area on Boxing Day, courtesy of storm "Desmond".
view at Cottingley Bridge
view of Roberts Park
The aftermath of the floods was of waterside trees fallen, or covered in debris, mostly shreds of plastic.
riverside at Denso Marsden
A container had been swept into the river and washed into Baildon Bridge.
Since the floods large bands of volunteers have cleared litter along sections of the bank, including at Denso Marsden.
Great community spirit was shown by the huge efforts of volunteers who helped those whose homes or businesses had been flooded.
message from the Friends of Bracken Hall Countryside Centre:
“Work is underway to convert the main building to
Although things on the Countryside Centre front haven’t
been moving as quickly as we hoped, progress is being made. The classroom,
toilets and garden are in use for Friends’ activities, school visits and other
Baildon Town Council is in the process of setting up the
exhibition room – a few old favourites to start with, working towards some
exciting new displays.
We are planning to begin weekend events from 12-4pm.
We hope that over the weeks Baildon Town Council will be
able to recruit sufficient volunteers to continue regular weekend opening.
Contact BTC or call into the centre if you are interested in being part of the
If anyone would like to organise an activity, walk or
event for FoBHCC, please get in touch. Groups can book the facilities through
BTC to hold group or public countryside events and we would love to see it
being used to the full.”
Fields Estate, Gilstead
We have already discussed the proposed Milner Fields Innovation Unit which would replace the dairy farm off Primrose Lan
The plan was reported in the T&A on 20 February 2015.
In November we heard about 2 planning applications, one to build the innovation unit & one being a change of use of existing agricultural land to provide land for research for Bradford University and Bradford College. The proposed development is a joint venture between the Hartley Property Group and Bradford University.
The land is in the greenbelt.
The tenant farmer, Keith Downs, has no intention of
giving up the tenancy. If the plans went ahead, he would lose his dairy farm,
which has been farmed by his family for more than 50 years, and lose the money
he has invested in developing the business.
Natural England, responding to the application, note the
close proximity to Trench Meadows SSSI. They request more detail regarding
proposed use of the land before full consideration is given to the application.
Looking at the Brooks ecological report, it mentions
Trench Meadows as being separated from the development area by arable land and
woodland. What will happen to this ‘arable’ land in the future?
Our experience is that similar applications are followed
by further development, and the loss of greenbelt
The two planning numbers are 15/05538/MAF and
and Skipton Properties. Development at Shipley.
Our information is that the housing development will
probably be going ahead, but the Morrisons supermarket will not.
A letter from Simon Woodhurst, Council Regeneration Manager for the Canal Road site,
Shipley, says negotiations between all the parties are working towards starting
a first phase of residential development in approx .2016/17.
We hope another summer, 2016, is available for monitoring
the Marbled White. We hope to show the species to the developers, with the aim of
cordoning off an area for the species. It is a very complicated situation.
Lane, Micklethwaite, Bingley.
This development went to a second inquiry on 6 October
2015 (at the first inquiry the application was turned down. A decision confirmed by the Secretary of
The developers appealed the decision and submitted a new application.
The Secretary of State responded by asking for another inquiry. This finished
on 16 October.
Susan Stead attended the Town Hall inquiry, and was
called to speak by the inspector. She said a few words about the importance of
the hedgerows, open spaces, wildlife, etc.
The inspector’s report is awaited. However, there seems
to be some pressure from the government to build ‘starter homes’, not just on
brownfield sites but possible new homes on greenfield sites and even some of
the Green Belt .
Industrial Estate Species Translocation.
See our events section for April.
Mark Woods has given us the survey of the Bee Orchid
translocation site. Common Spotted Orchid and Common Blue butterflies appear to
have translocated from the original Cullingworth site to the new habitat very
At least 50 species of flowers and grasses were recorded
on the translocated site and surroundings.
Well done to Mark Woods.
The Times for November 25 had a heading ‘Pesticide Spray
Kills Butterflies’. Researchers from the Universities of Stirling and Sussex
looked at butterfly numbers at 1,000 sites using data gathered by volunteers
for the Butterfly Monitoring Scheme. The trends at these sites were then
compared with the use of neonicotinoids.
In a paper published in the journal PeerJ they found that neonicotinoids were associated with the decline in 15
species of butterfly, including Small Skipper and Small Tortoiseshell.
In Scotland, where neonicotinoids
were used more sparingly, butterfly numbers held up much better.
are not only harming bees, they could be harming butterflies also. The study also said that neonicotinoids used on crops also
contaminated hedgerows where many wild flowers that attract butterflies grow.
The Sunday Times for November 15 looked at a report that
factory farmed bumblebees could be deployed to deliver pesticides protecting
plants including strawberries, rapeseed and apples from deadly fungus.
involves placing a tray of pesticide powder in the entrance to a specially
designed hive so that the bees have to walk through it every time they fly out.
When landing on a flower they will leave some pesticide behind protecting the
The pesticide is a strain of Clonostachys Rosea fungus that doesn’t
affect the bees (are we sure?) and prevents other fungi from infecting the
plants, said Michael Collinson, chief executive of Bee Vectoring Technology,
which is trialling the system on farms in North America and plans to bring it
to Britain next year.
Quite apart from the use of the pesticide, is it morally
justified to use bees this way?
More on neonicotinoids
of Wales Park
We now have three information boards, one at the bottom
of the park opposite the fountain, and a history board. The wildlife board is
at the top of the park near the bottom of the heathland. There are finger posts