An officer's recommendation to progress plans for the South East Bradford link road was opposed by members of City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council's regeneration and environment scrutiny committee earlier this week.
According to a report presented to the committee, the scheme "will provide additional improved transport corridor route options in south east of Bradford, potentially providing a strategic transport corridor connecting Bradford and Leeds districts".
A key objective is to "enable land to be unlocked to permit additional housing and employment sites and to support wider economic development".
According to a West Yorkshire Combined Authority document last year, the scheme is "required" to "open up land for housing development", adding that "over 2,500 homes could be unlocked by this scheme". It says this would contribute to Bradford Council’s local plan target of delivering 6,000 homes in south east Bradford.
The combined authority document says the cost of the scheme is up to £64 million with projected delivery between 2023 and 2025.
The road has yet to receive planning permission, according to Bradford Council. Its core strategy identifies a potential opportunity for a sustainable urban extension to the Holme Wood housing estate in south east Bradford, which would require supporting road infrastructure.
But while the council says the new link will improve air quality in south east Bradford by relieving congestion in the area’s road network, it is also likely to involve building on a narrow strip of green belt separating Leeds and Bradford, which has prompted opposition from campaigners.
The combined authority has allocated funding of £1.1 million for developing an outline business case for the new road.
It says that as well as unlocking housing development, the road will cut congestion for all road users accessing south east Bradford, and parts of neighbouring Leeds and Kirklees.
But Labour-run Bradford Council’s scrutiny committee voted against the officer's recommendation to support a resolution to appoint a consultant to develop the outline business case.
It is unclear why members were opposed, but according to the West Leeds Despatch, councillors were concerned about the project's environmental impact.
A group of Conservative councillors from neighbouring Leeds wrote to the committee before the meeting expressing such concerns as well as worries about the development of green belt land.
Following the committee's vote, the business case is being considered by the council's executive who would make a final decision.
A Bradford Council spokesman said the road scheme remains in the West Yorkshire Combined Authority's transport fund programme for further development but has yet to receive planning permission.
Speaking to Planning, Bradford Green Party campaigner Matt Edwards, who is opposed to the scheme on environmental grounds, urged the council’s executive to rethink the authority’s support for the project.
The 2019 combined authority document said the link road work is being co-ordinated with an "ongoing green belt review process" by Bradford Council to reflect the "potential impact on green belt designation".