Alec Shelbrooke, Conservative MP for Elmet & Rothwell: Council’s housing target is too high

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For over four years I’ve argued against Leeds City Council’s over-inflated housing target.

The ruling Labour administration had decided that the city must allocate land for 66,000 new homes by 2028, a figure that fellow MPs, councillors and campaign groups have repeatedly argued is too high.

Setting such a high target is leading to the unwanted situation of greenbelt land across the city being offered up by the council to developers whilst brownfield land remains unused.

But common sense may yet prevail as the council’s ruling executive has now halted its Site Allocations Plan amid calls from central government for a lower housing target.

For campaigners in my constituency, such as the Save Parlington Action Group near Aberford, this is welcome news as it may provide an opportunity for the Labour council to reverse its proposed destruction of the city’s greenbelt.

There’s no denying that Leeds does need more homes but these must be affordable homes on brownfield land first.

If the council ignorantly pursues its current plan then it will lead to the big volume house builders land banking their least profitable brownfield sites in order to build large executive homes on profitable greenbelt land.

Let’s hope councillors running Leeds City Council get on board with the government’s agenda and put in place a plan for the right homes in the right places.

Labour’s MP for Huddersfield, Barry Sherman, caused outrage last week when he proclaimed that better educated people voted to remain in the European Union.

The insinuation being, of course, that those who voted to leave the EU were less educated.

It won’t just be the voters of Huddersfield who will be angered by this blunder, voters across Yorkshire who opted to leave the European Union have a right to be miffed at the arrogance of these Labour politicians thinking they’re better than the people they’re elected to represent. In the 2016 EU referendum 17,410,742 voters (51.8 per cent) cast their ballots to leave the European Union. A survey published by YouGov shortly afterwards suggested that 35 per cent of those who voted Labour in the 2015 General Election went on to vote to leave the EU.

The same survey found that over-65s were most likely to have voted Leave.

Given that this age group were at school from 1963 onwards, if Mr Sherman thinks they are poorly educated then he should be asking why education policy under Harold Wilson’s government was so bad.