70,000 new homes bid ‘puts green belt at risk’, warns Leeds MP

Pudsey, Horsforth and Aireborough MP Stuart Andrew. Picture by Simon Hulme.

Pudsey, Horsforth and Aireborough MP Stuart Andrew. Picture by Simon Hulme.

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A Leeds MP has warned the city is “vulnerable to losing important greenbelt” after the council approved a target of building 70,000 new homes by 2028.

Stuart Andrew, MP for Pudsey, Horsforth and Aireborough, claims the housing target set out by the Core Strategy, which was formally voted in by Leeds City Council on Wednesday, is based on “outdated” statistics.

The Core Strategy is a blueprint for development over the next 15 years and was produced to replace the existing Unitary Development Plan that was last updated in 2006.

Following seven years of preparations and reviews by two Government inspectors, local authority leaders claim the document is designed to help the council have greater control over future development.

But Mr Andrew feels the housing target, which was approved by a Government inspector, “spells disaster for the greenbelt”. He said: “The basis of this figure comes from outdated information and projections that were highly inflated instead of real information that has come from the latest census. I have been warning that if we set ourselves too high a target we will be vulnerable to losing important greenbelt.”

Conservative councillors have previously argued for a reduced 50,000 housing target and had an amendment to review the number rejected at Wednesday’s full council meeting. Of the 97 councillors present at the Core Strategy vote, 61 members voted in support, there were 18 abstentions and the rest did not vote.

At the meeting councillors also voted in favour of a new Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL), which is seen as a way of raising funds for local areas by charging would-be developers.

Coun Peter Gruen, the council’s executive member for neighbourhoods, added: “We have sought to be ambitious and realistic about what we need.”

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