Pudsey residents have vowed to continue their fight to save historic Greenside Tunnel from housing developers.
Their vow comes despite EP Homes writing to local residents in an attempt to ease their fears about the development and blocking up the historic former railway tunnel.
As previously reported, residents have expressed concern over the disturbance of bats and other wildlife in the area.
They have also raised concerns about the loss of local history. The cutting runs parallel to Station Street, near the Royal Public House.
But in a letter sent to residents last week, EP Homes said:
“You will have noticed that we felled the self-seeded trees in February, before the bird nesting season began, after consulting an ecologist. We also had a bat survey carried out at the same time and found that there could be bats in the tunnel.
“We are fully aware that bats are a fully protected species and we will follow the advice of our qualified ecologist in this regard.
“We have also had a recent meeting with local councillors to keep them informed of our proposals.
“In the next few weeks we will commence to remove all the fly-tipping that has taken place over the past years. We will then be erecting cameras to monitor and hopefully catch any more fly-tippers and so hopefully improve the whole area.”
They said a planning application is to be submitted within the next six weeks to form access to the base of the cutting to fill with inert material from the adjacent site (Fartown Court). They add:
“Proposals for sealing the face of the tunnel and the bridge are at present under discussion with British Rail (Highways England).
“Once the tunnel and bridge are sealed we will commence to fill the cutting. There will be a considerable amount of fill from the Fartown Court site but if further material is required this will be imported from elsewhere.
“We would like to reassure all residents that there will be no heavy crushing machinery to be used on site as all the imported fill will be suitable to deposit immediately in the cutting without further grading.
“We are very aware of the number of schools and accommodation for the elderly that are within this area and will work with the LPA and Councillors to avoid unnecessary disruption and will not work outside normal working hours.
“As our company believes in building a better class of eco-friendly housing with more green space for gardens similar to our recently completed Arthur Court development at The Marsh, Pudsey, we are proposing to reduce the number of properties from 20 (as per the previous application by Ogdens) to 14. These will be two, three and four bedroomed houses.
“We hope this letter will reassure you that our company is looking to build much-needed houses on this site in an environmentally friendly way that will not disrupt your peace and quiet for any longer than is absolutely necessary.”
But local residents are still angry.
One resident, who asked not to be named, contacted the Dispatch to say she would be prepared to chain herself to metal gates near the site to stop developers filling in the tunnel. She added:
“The tunnel’s part of Pudsey’s history and must be preserved – the whole area is teeming with wildlife and there have been bats in the tunnel ever since I was a little girl. This can’t be allowed to happen.”
The letter was also posted on Facebook and received a hostile response on the Pudsey Born and Bred group. One commenter said:
“Do these ‘much needed houses’ have ‘much needed schools, Drs and dentists’?”