Developers are exploiting new planning rules by seeking to build massive developments which would “completely change the nature” of villages outside Leeds, a local MP has warned.
Alec Shelbrooke, the Conservative MP for Elmet and Rothwell, told the House of Commons that unscrupulous house-builders are trying to use the Government’s relaxation of planning laws to build on precious green fields.
“People in some of my villages may feel we need more bungalows for elderly people,” he said. “Those in other villages may feel there is not enough affordable housing, and that we need to build two-bedroom terrace homes that would help young people to stay in the village where they were brought up.
“The problem that we have in Leeds and in my constituency is that as soon as these plans are proposed, the developer says, ‘Well, that’s very good, but actually I want to build not 20 houses there, but 200 or 400 houses’.
“That would completely change the nature of the villages in my constituency.”
Mr Shelbrooke said he “totally disagreed” with suggestions that more houses should be built in existing villages, and called for entirely new settlements to be constructed instead.
“I do not believe that we should build garden cities, but there is certainly an argument for building new villages in areas and not expanding the existing villages,” he said.
The MP said Leeds City Council’s current development proposals allow for 1,200 new homes in his constituency – a figure he warned would see towns and villages “blend into one”.
“Leeds City Council has deemed the constituency overall has to take 1,200 houses,” he said. “In the context of there being 41,000 houses to start with, we can see that represents an enormous expansion.
“Under these plans, the villages of Micklefield and Kippax, and the town of Garforth, will all blend into one huge development. I believe that the figures are wrong.”