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Wharfedale Independents raise concern over future of green belt land
Two Independent Wharfedale councillors have spoken out on national green belt policies.
Councillor Anne Hawkesworth, who stepped down from Bradford Council’s Conservative group two weeks ago and made the move to be an Independent, has concerns over the green belt.
She said: “The green belt policy is not, as some think, to protect high landscape areas, but to prevent urban sprawl, retain space and prevent communities merging.
“Of particular concern to threaten this space is the double talk of ministers. There have been long standing pledges that the green belt will be protected. We now have the new planning minister Nick Boles, who makes no attempt to cover up his intentions. He intends to allow the green belt to be plundered. The sad part of this is there is no need.”
Coun Hawkesworth left the Conservative group after citing “dismay” with the leadership style of group leader Glen Miller and raising concerns over the Government’s national planning policies. Coun Hawkesworth has now been accepted by former Conservative councillors, Adrian Naylor (Craven) and Chris Greaves (Wharfedale) on the political group which they formed – The Independents.
Coun Naylor said: “This week, the Centre for Cities has called for a special fund for places such as Bradford because of the need to find housing for those seeking work, to help meet the housing need and to stimulate the economy. However, the one size fits all government policy will actually harm places like Bradford.
“We are told that Bradford needs approximately 45,000 houses, mainly for those on low incomes and for those with young families. Here is the ‘catch 22’ for Bradford. The banks are least likely to lend to these groups and so builders sitting on brownfield sites and with 11,000 planning permissions already granted are unlikely or unable to build the affordable homes needed.
“This leaves Bradford having to offer greenfield and greenbelt sites in more expensive parts of the district to meet the Government’s requirements of a ‘market deliverable’ five year land supply.”