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‘Disbelief’ at campaigner’s homes plan
A would-be politician who campaigned against greenbelt developments has been accused of ‘garden-grabbing’ by applying to build two homes on his own land.
Mike King, who stood as a Labour candidate for Guiseley in elections earlier this year, has submitted the bid for two semi-detached houses in the garden of his Renton Avenue house.
The move has been condemned by Graham Latty, a Conservative councillor for the area, who has previously been accused by Mr King of being “seriously complacent” about the threat of large-scale development.
Coun Latty said: “Over the years that I have represented Aireborough, now Guiseley and Rawdon, I have robustly opposed development in the ward.
“It started with the Electric Board site in Back Lane and most recently with the Moons development in Netherfield Road.
“During that period, whenever development has cropped up, particularly at the Guiseley and Rawdon Forum, Mike King, the man who would be Councillor King, has accused me of not standing up for our area.”
Coun Latty added: “So, imagine my surprise to see an application has been made by him to build a pair of semi-detached houses in the garden of his house in Renton Avenue.
“Surprise tinged with disbelief that this upright pillar and supporter of society, who for so long has pointed a finger at me, should be garden-grabbing – trying to shoehorn houses into an already developed road in the conservation area.”
But Mr King stressed the small scheme was a totally different issue to the large-scale developments he had warned of.
Mr King this week acknowledged he had submitted an application for two houses in the garden of his home, but he accused Coun Latty of trying to turn it into a political issue.
“I have submitted an application under the planning rules and I leave it to planning officers to decide whether it is acceptable,” he said.
But Coun Latty, left, said: “Renton Avenue has its own particular character, and development of its gardens is just not what it needs.”
In a letter to the Wharfedale Observer earlier this year, Mr King accused Coun Latty of being “seriously compla-cent when it comes to the threat of massive housing development in Guiseley, Yeadon and Rawdon”.
In his election material, he warned the Government was forcing councils to set housing targets to be achieved by 2028, and that Aireborough would be asked to accept 2,300 new homes.
He claimed: “You cannot rely on Coun Latty to robustly represent our interests.”
And in his election promises, he added: “I will argue vigorously within the council against destroying green belt in our area.”