Words: Anne Akers
Development work in preparation for building 69 new homes, due to start at Rodley’s derelict Airedale Mills in January, will mean the closure of the nature reserve and the nearby towpath for up to three months.
Dynamic Capital and Investments already has outline planning permission for the site, which includes replacing the swing bridge and carrying out road works to ensure access. The work on the bridge and road is due to start in January.
Rodley Nature Reserve Trust made no objection in principle to the development, though asked for measures to be taken to protect wildlife and for mature trees to be kept.
In a statement this week, it said while the contractors were working on the development, pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles would have no access over the canal, which meant that for the safety of volunteers and visitors they had no option but to close the reserve for the duration.
“The closure period is uncertain and will depend on weather conditions, and how work progresses. Information about exact closure dates will be posted on social media as soon as they are known,” the Trust said in a statement.
“Trustees are aware of the importance of the reserve to both wildlife and the community and will strive to minimise the duration of the closure.
“The Trust regrets the necessity for the closure but looks forward to welcoming back our many visitors, migrant birds, butterflies and moths in the spring of 2022.
The reserve, which was Nature Reserve of the Year 2018 in Countryfile Magazine’s awards, is currently open Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays, 9-4.
The developers will apply for full planning permission for the 69 homes soon.
The Trust says it hopes the community will make representations about maintaining biodiversity and the wildlife corridor along the River Aire.
Yet more poorly built tiny matchbox houses being crammed into a totally inappropriate place. It’s not within walking distance of any supermarkets, schools, medical facilities or decent public transport etc. The derelict land where the old factory site was should be cleared and incorporated into the nature reserve.
The towpath will also be closed, but C&RT are awaiting further details from the developer.