The government’s minister for planning was visiting the district today, Thursday, to address concerns that his government’s policies are leading to swathes of countryside being built on.
Nick Boles is visiting Addingham and Menston as part of the trip, which was requested by local MPs Kris Hopkins and Philip Davies.
Various different groups in Addingham and Ilkley have previously raised concerns about the number of houses being proposed for green land in the north of the district.
And the Menston Action Group were recently unsuccessful in their attempt to stop two housing developers gain permission for 330 houses on fields in the village.
Under Mr Boles’s current policies councils will have to ensure a steady supply of housing is built each year, and to achieve this the council has granted planning permission for various housing estates on green land.
Later this year they will release their local plan, which allocates future housing sites – many of which are expected to be on greenbelt land.
Meanwhile many brownfield sites have remained untouched by developers, who say they are not economically viable or deliverable.
Mr Boles will defend his policies on Thursday, but local residents and councillors hope they can point out their flaws, and show that Bradford should be viewed differently than the rest of the country when it comes to development.
He meets with groups in Addingham first at a meeting hosted by Addingham Civic Society and Mr Hopkins. After this he will meet with the Menston Action Group and Mr Davies. Parish councillors have been invited to both meetings.
Peter Wilkinson, of Addingham Civic Society, says government pressure on Bradford Council was forcing it to make the wrong decisions on housing sites, and that the building of large houses in his area “did nothing” for low income families in Bradford who need homes.
He said: “Bradford is different because of the social and economic issues, and the fact it has lots of brownfield sites. Very few of them are being offered up for housing. Bradford requires special measures compared with other parts of the country.
“We don’t argue for no housing in Wharfedale, but for so much of Bradford’s growth to take place here doesn’t meet the needs of people in Bradford. If you leave it up to this policy you will have a lot of massive houses on greenfield sites and a ring around Bradford.
“We are not arguing against the council, because they have been put in a very difficult position by the government. We hope we can inform Mr Boles’ thinking on housing.”
Coun Adrian Naylor (Craven) is ward councillor for the area, and said: “Residents will have the chance to point out that the one-size-fits-all policy towards planning is not that appropriate for Bradford.”
So far as I can gather the objection to Mark Prisk, the outgoing Housing Minister was not to do with any objection to the substance of Mr Prisk’s work but his reluctance to undertake media interviews. I suppose in the run up to the next General Election getting the message across is rather important.
The papers wont really tell you who the new DCLG team is today, two sacked and three appointed, as portfolios don’t seem to have been announced.
Two of the candidates for housing minister – Baroness Beeston – pronounced as ;dumb’ by Quintin Letts for not knowing where the Orkey Islands were, and Hris Hopkins MP immediately denounced by Nadine Norris MP as the chambers slimiest, nastiest mp. Encouraging.