A group which is fighting to prevent unwanted development is organising a Yorkshire-wide conference in a bid to launch a national campaign for planning reform.

WARD (Wharfedale and Airedale Review Development) is working in conjunction with CPRE Yorkshire to convene a pan-Yorkshire planning conference. The conference will discuss the possibility of co-ordinating a campaign for planning reform across the county and on a nationwide level.

WARD chairman David Ingham said: “We need to convene a large supportive group of MPs at Westminster, all ‘singing from the same hymn sheet’.”  The conference is being planned for March 9, with a venue to be arranged, and organisers say further details will be released shortly.

The group, which met with planning minister Nick Boles during his visit to the area last week, says that developers in Wharfedale and Airedale are sitting on huge numbers of planning permissions where not a single brick has been laid.  They say: “Nationally the figure is approximately 400,000 – a very clear illustration of land-banking by developers – something which they consistently deny, while pushing for the release of yet more green land.  “These numbers, coupled with the numbers of boarded-up, empty properties across our region and elsewhere, would go a long way towards alleviating the housing crisis which government sources persist in claiming we have in the UK.

“It is important that everyone in the Wharfedale and Airedale area, concerned about the adverse effects of over-development upon our schools, public infrastructure and transport systems, should question the LDF (Local Development Framework) proposals of their relevant local authority,  by writing letters  to their councillors and MPs.”

WARD was founded as an umbrella organisation just over two years ago with an initial meeting of six people.

They brought together the concerns of several community group about rapid development and its effects on local infrastructure.