Bradford Dales Village Votes for 500 House Site in Greenbelt

Wharfdale Observer

COUNCILLORS have voted in favour of building 500 homes on green belt land in Burley-in Wharfedale following the outcome of a referendum into a neighbourhood plan for the village.

A decision on the controversial outline plans, which also include the land and infrastructure for a primary school, was deferred in January to await the outcome of Burley Parish Council’s development plan.

At yesterday’s meeting of Bradford Council’s regulatory and appeals committee, it emerged that 82 per cent of people had voted for the neighbourhood plan at the polls just under two weeks ago.

The panel was told this site was instrumental if a target of 700 new homes in Burley-in-Wharfedale, which is included in the core strategy of the Council’s Local Plan, were to be reached.

The CEG scheme also includes nearly £1 million of local highways and transport improvements, as well as reserving part of the site to enable a one or two-form entry primary school to be built as demand for places increases.

Concerns were raised by some members of the committee over whether the very special circumstances that are required to allow development in the green belt had been met in this case – particularly over the issue of the school.

Councillor Jack Richard (Con, Craven) argued that this would see the Council essentially “give away prime green belt land” for a developer to build 500 homes and “land for a school but with no school to go on it”.

He added: “I have significant doubts about whether this is setting the right kind of bar when it comes to giving away the green belt.”

Steve McBurney, from CEG, told the panel: “We will reserve the land for ten years and transfer it to the Council for £1. This may be the only opportunity for a new school in Burley.”

He added: “The school is only one of many strands of the very special circumstances case here.”

“Very special circumstances exist on this site in this particular instance. The very special circumstances are unique to this site and this site only.”

Chairman of the committee, Councillor David Warburton (Lab, Wyke), proposed the recommendation from planning officers that the scheme be approved, and added: “Somewhere in Burley there has to be 700 new homes, and looking at the area I can’t see any other place that could accommodate this amount of houses.”

The matter must now go to the secretary of state for a final decision over the plans.

Luxembourg – New Capital of Europe Needs urgent Planning Reform to Expand Housing

As many cities in Europe are seeing falls in house prices one major exception is Luxembourg City – whose financial sector goes from strength to strength.  It has a workforce of over 400,000 people but a population of only 110,000 (though growing from 87,000 in 2007) in commuting levels where in Europe only Cambridge is compatible.  Similarly it is clogged with medoum-long distance communities from surrounding villages (and even countries) and has huge problems of housing affordability.   

Many financial sector firms in London are sniffing out potential sites in the city, already incredibly the number two site in the world for private banking.

The system planning problems are familiar.

The city commune is underbounded.

The development plan is a pure zoning plan with no proper strategic plan on the cities growth needs.  Nothing wrong with zoning as long as you zone for new housing in the right places with the right connections.  The plan however proposes two limited areas for expansion which wont cope with the growth rate.  One of which at Cesange has started (at four story density, the sourronding two storey housing areas have not yet advanced so much)).

What is worse under political pressure they reezoned in 2016 many areas close to the centre from multifamily to single family.  Areas notably popular with elites.














The city itself sites within a bowl at the confluence of rivers and has sought to maintain containment within the bowl , much of the centre is a world heritage site and protected forests lie to its north, however pressures have been displaced, much like Cambridge, to surrounding villages.

Clearly the future of the City needs to be seen as a national priority rather than simply a communal one, difficult in a country where the autonomy of communes is closely guarded.

The scope for intensification in the centre is limited.  The old town has lost some areas to bland mid 20th century offices.  There are and has been intensification along some corridors and to the South, North East and West of the Old Town. The obvious area for intensification is the Cents neighbourhood immediately to the East of the centre which only has a population of 3,200.  Controversial as it is the area with the lowest proportion of no Luxembourg residents.  Modern form based zoning rather than the old style euclidean zoning could help mange this intensification.

The city has five rail lines radiating, and with modern signalling there is potential for a modern rapid transit system, especially as the lines pass through rather than terminating at the central station.  There has already been some growth to the south est in particular but perversely here it is employment only leading to reverse commuting.  The topography, forests and villages means that growth needs to be carefully located and designed rather than being in a single large new settlement but there are obvious opportunities.  What needs to go sadly is the geographical separateness of some communes around the city, particularly in the four small communes to the north of the city, as this is the most obvious area for expansion as a high density urban extension along the railway between the protected Grunwald forest areas., where growth hencefar has been a mess of neon signs and land wasting French style big boxes.  The villages here have long since grown well beyond there historic centres, so as long as there is a well planned network of green infrastructure linking these up at a city scale would have limited landscape impact.  Along other segments there is much very attractive countryside with long distance views across rolling countryside and down valleys requiring development to be a series of smaller scale interventions carefully grafted onto existing settlements and the the landscape.