South Leeds: War of words erupts over plans to build thousands of homes

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A war of words has erupted over plans to build thousands of new houses in the Morley area.

Rival councillors in the Morley South and Morley North wards have criticised one another over proposals to build in the town and surrounding areas over the next two decades.

Neil Dawson, Labour councillor for the Morley South ward, claims a maximum of 2,200 houses will be constructed in the two wards under the Local Development Framework (LDF) Plan – thousands fewer than has been suggested by the Morley Borough Independents (MBIs).

He said greenbelt land would be protected from development.

But the five MBI councillors who occupy the other seats in the two wards say the figures do not include housing earmarked for the wider Morley area, including East Ardsley, West Ardsley and Tingley.

They claim large swathes of greenfield – land which hasn’t been built on before but doesn’t enjoy the same protection as greenbelt – will be lost.

Coun Dawson said: “The figures in the released LDF plan contradict the numbers put out by the Morley Borough Independents.

“In my ward of Morley South there is planned to be an increase of just 33 new homes per year over 15 years and only one green belt site with a possible 44 new homes is threatened.

“Despite claims from the MBIs that Morley’s greenbelt will be lost, this plan put forward by the Labour-controlled council does the opposite.”

But MBI councillor Robert Finnigan, who represents Morley North, said: “It smacks of desperation from a candidate who has to explain in May why he has ignored the Morley people in supporting the LDF.

“The fact of the matter is that people in the wider Morley area are under the misconception that there is more protection from building than is the case.”