Fears for future of green belt in Keighley area

Keighley News: Councillor Simon Cooke in Denholme, where 35 homes are to be built on a field despite protesters’ objections Councillor Simon Cooke in Denholme, where 35 homes are to be built on a field despite protesters’ objections

Huge swathes of greenfield sites could be swallowed up for housing under Bradford Council’s proposals for future land use, opposition councillors have warned.

To satisfy government requirements, the council has to earmark enough land in its Core Strategy document to accommodate 42,100 homes between now and 2030.

The proposals went on public display this week for a period of public consultation and suggest up to 11,000 of these homes could be built on green belt areas.

But Bingley Rural councillor Simon Cooke, Conservative deputy leader and spokesman for housing, planning and transport, said that did not seem “plausible” and would fail to meet the district’s housing needs.

He said: “There is a very real risk that in ten years’ time we will have lost 900 acres of open fields, while hundreds of acres of brownfield land is undeveloped.

“The proposals for housing in the urban areas around the city are often neither viable nor deliverable. Once green belt land is gone it is gone, and at that time we may end up having to look at building on more while proposing the exact same brownfield sites that are proposed at present.”

The council states that while there is a need to develop some green belt locations, the principle at the heart of the strategy is one of regeneration, to make the most efficient use of urban and previously developed land.

Coun Val Slater, the Labour-run authority’s executive member for housing, planning and transport, said: “We have identified brownfield sites for development, but unfortunately there are not enough of those sites to meet the district’s needs.

“Unfortunately, the ‘brownfield sites first’ policy was abolished nationally, so we have less power to make developers use brownfield land first.

“Regrettably, we will have to look at developing greenfield sites, but it is vital these are not the most valuable and unique lands that make up our great district.”

The Core Strategy Publication Draft is available for inspection at the council offices and at main libraries, and can be downloaded at bradford.gov.uk/LDF.

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