Following, the WARD meeting with Planning Minister Nick Boles, and his statement that “the government is not dictating new build numbers to local authorities – they are free to decide their own” – it is interesting to examine the following table detailing LDF proposals for Leeds, Bradford and Kirklees.
Please note that, despite Leeds’ 2011 census population increase (35,900) being only 69% of Bradford’s population increase (51,700) – for some reason, best known to itself, Leeds MDC is planning to build 36% more new houses than Bradford MDC. Why?
There is another interesting comparison with Kirklees: with a population increase (33,000) equal to 92% of that for Leeds, Kirklees is proposing to build only 32% of the houses (22,470) which Leeds proposes (70,000).
Not one of these authorites has presented the required clear, hard, evidence in their Local Development Framework (LDF) Core Strategy documents to substantiate their housing target numbers. And, it seems clear, from the above statistics, that each authority has used different criteria to come up with housing target figures. This situation is worrying; especially when Leeds, in particular, has consistently refused to reveal the raw data upon which its LDF housing proposals are based.
This situation was pointed out to Nick Boles by WARD at the meeting last Thursday.
Furthermore, Leeds LDF proposals are vague on detail with reference to ‘affordable’ housing and realistic housing needs. A recent WARD survey of property both nationally and locally (table: Property Situtation Nationally and Locally) reveals the real need is for ‘affordable social’ housing for rent as well as to buy through part-ownership.
It also reveals that developers in Wharfedale and Airedale are sitting on huge numbers of planning permissions already granted where not a single brick has yet been laid! Nationally the figure is approximately 400,000 – a very clear illustration of land banking by developers – something which they consistently deny, whilst 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 proposals of their relevant local authority, by writing letters to their councillors and MPs. DO IT NOW USING THE INFORMATION ON THIS PAGE!