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Burley and Menston Conservative CouncillorsHouse building Local PlanThe push to build on brownfield ahead of Green Belt.

The push to build on brownfield ahead of Green Belt. Featured

Renewal and regeneration.

Bradford’s Local Plan clearly indicates a desire to deliver much needed housing on brownfield, and they continue to aspire to make unviable brownfield viable through the regeneration process. This was noted in the 2005 RUDP I seeHowever, it is recognised that in some of the district’s housing and commercial markets, financial constraints may make housing an economically unviable option for the foreseeable future.”

The issue of ‘viability’ was revisited in a 2012 study involving developers, house builders and property consultants. It was again raised in a questionnaire to the same participants in 2014, and the same ‘viability’ issue appears in the proposed Local Plan.

It is an established fact that the district’s currently ‘unviable’ Brownfield land can supply a significant housing contribution if remedial action is taken on unviable land. In addition, from further examination of the plan, it is established that a further 5,000 homes remain unoccupied. Most of the unoccupied housing is in 5 key areas of the district: these are City Centre, Bradford NE, NW, SE and SW.

These two alone would make a significant contribution to the district’s ‘perceived’ housing need. To put this plainly, unoccupied housing could contribute 15.6% of the district’s required housing target and ‘unviable’ land could potentially contribute another 15%+ over that number.

The awkward question I wish to raise is, why has this issue persisted for the past 16 years? Why, in this Local Plan, do I find – “3.1.6 Securing new development, investment and regeneration will not only provide the jobs and prosperity which will support local people, but will help to drive up land values increase market confidence, and render previously marginal schemes viable.”  This is precisely the same policy approach adopted back in 2005 in the RUDP. What has this policy delivered historically and when are Council going to show real progress in achieving its goals?

Cash for unviable brownfield.

At the time I was responding to the Local Plan, I became aware of a £67 million award to the West Yorkshire Comined Authority (WYCA) to remediate brownfield sites that would otherwise remain unviable. Bradford’s share of this award is circa £15 million. Let’s see how this award is used to redvelop some/many of the unviable brownfield sites across the district.

Open season for green belt.

I as others was contacted by Dean Kirkby from the ‘i’ to discuss green belt issues after the new planning bill was announced in the Queens Speech. Here again, it is recognised that the bill is flawed . The direction of travel is broadly speaking in the ‘right direction,’ however, the numbers appear to be on the high side.

There’s an article in the ‘i’ online about this issue at https://inews.co.uk/news/uk/its-outrageous-greenbelt-residents-fear-open-season-for-developers-under-governments-new-planning-bill-1008460/amp

Much has changed since the government released their planning white papers that will affect household projections. The pandemic and Brexit are likely to reshape the UK’s housing market and the March 2021 census data will also need to be taken into account.

Ward councillor and local MP’s position remain unchanged, we are opposed to development on the Green Belt ahead of brownfield. Green belt should be the measure of last resort.