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Added to website: 16 January 2009


Trees at the junction of Victoria and Saltaire Road

Trees that campaigners thought had been spared are now to be axed in a sudden about-turn by Bradford Council's Shipley Planning Committee. Campaigners are angry and devastated.

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The junction of Victoria and Saltaire Road is an accident blackspot and recently, the trees at this junction have come under scrutiny to assess whether they are contributing factors to road traffic accidents.

Following a public consultation at Errington House on the 30th December 2008, Simon D'Vali, Bradford Council's principal engineer for Shipley reported that measures had been agreed upon to improve the safety of the junction, including improving white lining, road surface and signage and removing some street furniture. The tree canopies were to be crowned though the trees were to be left in situ. Campaigners fighting to protect the trees were delighted.

On 14 January. these measures were brushed aside by Shipley Planning Committee who dismissed the petition raised in opposition to the removal of the trees as ‘having to be taken with a pinch of Salt’. The lead petitioner Helen Duffy, was the only one allowed to voice objections. Craig Williams (Highways Engineer) stated in an email on the 29 October that ‘none of the seven accident reports make specific reference to the issue of optical continuity’, an admission that the trees were not identified as contributing factors. Conservative Councillor David Heseltine, chairman of the Shipley Area Committee, said it would have been “on his conscience” if someone had died or been maimed in a crash at the junction, which has seen 17 casualties in the past five years, of which three were serious.

Shipley Councillor Martin Love, who is leader of the Green group on Bradford Council, has accused members of the Council’s Conservative group of “totally ignoring” the views of the hundreds of people who petitioned to save the four trees. Coun Love said: “I have spoken to residents and they are as staggered as I am by the behaviour of some of the councillors.

Simon D'Vali, said there would not be immediate action and Martin Love is urging anyone interested in saving the trees to write to the chair of the Area Committee, Cllr David Heseltine ( and ask him to reconsider.

Support to save the trees also comes from Philip Davis MP, who has expressed his sorrow that the Committee did not support the compromises which had been agreed. Mr. Davis has pledged his support to those who will try to fight on to save the trees.

Added: 16 January 2009



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