A large number of ‘the usual suspects’ attended the Full Council meeting at Bradford City Hall on Tuesday 10 December, to present a petition in defence of Green Belt and green spaces, and to demonstrate about those issues in the city centre.
Dr Steve Ellams, Chairman of Menston Community Association, presented the petition to the Council, verbally and in writing (bearing 1,500 signatures), requesting that the Council acknowledge that the National Planning Policy Framework contains provisions that Green Belt and green land should only be built on after brownfield land (previously built-on) had been consumed and only in exceptional circumstances. Green areas are vital to separate communities, to provide recreational space, wildlife habitats and to protect and preserve the special character of areas. All these valuable benefits are under threat from plans for construction in Bradford District, which have not been subject to proper consultation, and which seem to be far in excess of what anyone can understand to be needed.
Dr Ellams emphasised that, in accordance with the Localism Act, communities were to be fully involved in the planning of new developments, and to have a say on how many and what types of development should take place, with a view to protecting environments such as Wharfedale for future generations. There was a risk of overdevelopment along the A65, such that Wharfedale could become a ribbon of concrete and tarmac, all the communities being linked together as the Green Belt was consumed by speculative building. It was time for Bradford Council to put a stop to developers “land banking”, and ensure that the right housing was built in the right places and in a proper sequence, with ‘brownfield first’.