Senior Leeds councillor criticises Bradford Council housing plans

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A senior politician in Leeds has reiterated his concerns around Bradford Council, and clashes of housing strategies on the border of the two cities.

Leeds Conservatives leader Coun Andrew Carter told a meeting of Leeds City Council’s development plans panel that Leeds needs to be better informed on Bradford Council’s ongoing core strategy document which, when finished, will outline where houses should be built in the city over the coming years.

It follows comments from Coun Carter at the previous meeting of the panel in September, during which he described Bradford’s housing strategy as a “dog’s breakfast”.

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At the meeting on Tuesday, during a discussion on the minutes of the previous meeting, Coun Carter said: “What it doesn’t do is to tell us how we are now going to be better-informed as to what Bradford are actually up to.

Councillor Andrew Carter.Councillor Andrew Carter.
Councillor Andrew Carter.

“Most of us on this side remain very concerned about the issues of southeast Bradford, the road links and the erosion of the green belt on the Bradford side of the border.

“The duty to cooperate, I don’t think, exists in terms of Bradford talking to us about developments on their side of the border, whether you run from Guiseley and Rawdon in the north to Morley in the south.”

He asked what progress had been made in getting better communication with Bradford, adding: “As far as I can see none of those fears and concerns have yet been in any way removed.”

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A core strategy is a document held by each council which dictates when and where housing and infrastructure should be built in the coming years, which also features housing targets. Bradford’s is currently out to consultation, after the government revised down the city’s annual housing target from 2,476 to 1,703 earlier this summer.

A council officer responded to Coun Carter: “There are two things to focus on, one is the plan making process and Bradford’s obligation to take into account the comments that were made to it.

“The second is to continue a conversation with duty to cooperate meetings and heads of planning meetings as part of Leeds’s involvement in the combined authority.

“Both of those things will be ongoing.”

Coun Carter retorted: “Have we, as a council responded to the consultation for Bradford, and does that not mean that when an inquiry is held, which it will have to be, Leeds will be able to attend and publicly disagree with Bradford?”

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The officer confirmed that the comments Coun Carter made during the last meeting had been sent to Bradford Council for their consideration.

He added: “Following that, there has been a conversation with their head of planning to contextualise and reinforce those comments.

“It’s now up to Bradford to take those comments into account along with all the other comments they receive, as part of that stage of consultation.”

During the previous meeting on September 3, an item was discussed on Bradford Council’s ongoing partial core strategy review.

Coun Carter claimed the plans, in their current form, were a “dog’s breakfast”, claiming there were too many proposed developments on greenfield sites near Leeds.