Leeds Campaigners’ fears over use of green belt land

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CAMPAIGNERS fear green belt land could be concreted over if plans to build thousands of new homes in Leeds are given the go ahead.

Members of Wharfedale and Airedale Review Development (WARD) have written to planning chiefs over their fears that too much brownfield land in the city has been ignored for potential development.

Leeds City Council needs to build nearly 66,000 homes over the next 15 years as part of its Site Allocation Plan.

It recently drew up a list of potential sites that could be considered for development.

But representatives from WARD fear that greenfield sites are being used because they are “attractive targets” to developers.

In a letter to Leeds City Council’s chief planning officer, campaigners say: “The WARD organisation is concerned that so much green belt appears to have been placed in this site allocations exercise and too much brownfield land has been ignored.

“Naturally we understand that inclusion in the Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment does not necessarily mean that all the sites will be developed.

“ It comes as no surprise to find so much green belt included in the proposals.

“This, of course, readily identifies land likely to produce the greatest profits for developers and under current planning legislation, makes the greenfield sites extremely attractive targets.”

They say that plans to build thousands of new homes in north west Leeds will compound pressure on the congested A65 and A660.

The letter adds: “WARD would also urge the Leeds City Council to concentrate on persuading house builders to complete the thousands of planning permissions already granted on sites where not a single brick has been laid.”