The Case for a Bridge
There is no bridge across the River Wharfe at Burley-in-Wharfedale, and the nearest bridges are the road bridges at Ben Rhydding and Otley, both approximately two miles away. The present right of way crossings of the River Wharfe at Burley-in-Wharfedale are at Greenholme Farm, Leather Bank. These consist of of stepping stones for walkers and an adjacent bridleway ford. The stepping stones are nearly always submerged, so effectively there is no route for walkers for most of the year. During 2008 it is believed that the stepping stones were submerged for the whole twelve months. Furthermore, the River Wharfe, with a catchment area in the Pennine hills, often rises quickly. This can present a hazard to users who may cross the river in one direction and find their way blocked on their return.
It is noted that in an AONB ”the demand for recreation should be met as far as this is consistent with the conservation of natural beauty and the needs of agriculture, forestry and other uses.• (Countryside Agency 2001). This planning application will facilitate the demand for recreation in the AONB and will not affect the needs of agriculture.
The Ramblers' Association, the applicant, is a charity (Reg 1093577, and one of its charitable objects is the protection of the countryside. The need for a crossing over the River Wharfe in the locality of Burley-in-Wharfedale is mentioned in the Rights of Way Improvement Plan (ROWIP) of both Bradford MDC and North Yorkshire CC.
The ROWIP for Bradford MDC states:
”3.9.4, A major cross-boundary issue is the crossing of the River Wharfe at Burley-in-Wharfedale. Again, this links in to cross-border issues with regard to high density settlements on the Bradford side and a lack of connection in some cases on the NYCC side. This is particularly highlighted at the Burley crossing which involves several complex issues.•
It is also specified in the ROWIP ACTION PLAN (Chapter 6) ”Large scale projects beyond the scope the scope of current LTP allocation. DETAIL: New bridge across the Wharfe at Burley. This requires cross county boundary working with North Yorkshire and fund raising by the Ramblers' Association.•
The ROWIP for North Yorkshire County Council states:
(Appendix A - 1.3.15 Southern Pennines) ”Main Issues and Opportunities: The high potential demand for access to North Yorkshire from neighbourhood urban fringes and other populated areas of West Yorkshire. This demand is expressed by the wish for more river crossing points such as at Burley-in-Wharfedale, the cost of a bridge here would be in the order of half a million pounds at the county boundary with Bradford and would provide a strategic route into the Nidderdale AONB.•