I am delighted and welcome the news that at last the administration on the Council and the senior planning officers have finally listened to what I and my colleagues throughout the City have been telling them for the last 3 years; the numbers have been far too high and needed to be reviewed and that we should not be allocating excessive amounts of greenbelt land. Finally, something is being done. Had this gone ahead as it was, we would have ended up with vast swathes of greenbelt land being eroded for no purpose.
The Council have now called for a delay to the housing element of the SAP following a Government consultation that suggests that the Leeds housing target is too high. Under the Government’s calculation of housing need for Leeds the target would be 42,000 up to 2028 as opposed to 70,000 that the Council has been targeting since 2012.
This pause in the process, until the numbers are redefined, should enable a number of green belt sites in Wharfedale to be safeguarded for a long time. This would include sites in Bramhope, Pool and Adel that had been identified in the plan for future development. This will also put a question mark over speculative land owners putting forward their case for inappropriate pieces of green belt land to be examined during the Inspection, that even the Council had excluded.
It is very sad that there are a number of sites that have had outline permission granted, have been lost due to the administration’s ineffective defence of our green lungs throughout the city, particularly the land at Breary Lane East and the land opposite Adel Church. In the case of Breary Lane East this was allowed by an Inspector after appeal but had the administration listened to us earlier, this site would never have needed to come forward in the first place.
The Administration can no longer point the finger at the Government, who have listened, now it is their turn to act and show both good faith and support for local residents.
The new figure from the Government is potentially a major positive for Leeds as it sets a greatly reduced figure. The Government suggest that a 2,649 annual figure would be appropriate as opposed to the Council’s 4,375 figure.