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Aireborough MP slams housing target figures as ‘unrealistic’
Aireborough is facing disaster unless housing targets for Leeds are slashed from 70,000 to 35,000, campaigners are warning.
And an appeal for help to protect the Green Belt has gone out to residents, MPs and councillors, who are urged to attend a public hearing into the city’s core strategy for the next 13 years.
The campaign group Ward is calling for a show of support when the adjourned hearing continues at 9.30am on Wednesday in Leeds.
Members are stressing that the enquiry will determine the future of Green Belt land.
Clive Woods, chairman of Aireborough Civic Society and research officer for Ward, said: “We are truly amazed that Leeds is going to be stuck with the highest housing target figures in the whole of England, despite a much lower population growth in the 2011 census than predicted by the Government’s Office for National Statistics. The growth was predicted to be 12 per cent, but at 5.5 per cent was actually one of the lowest for cities in the UK.”
Last week Leeds City Council’s housing targets were slammed as “unachievable and unrealistic” at the hearing.
Pudsey, Horsforth and Aireborough MP Stuart Andrew told the inspector his constituency had suffered more than any other in the city from overdevelopment which had caused a huge strain on its infrastructure.
He said: “The housing plans are completely unrealistic and unachievable and I have ensured that I made this point. Our Green Belt land does not just serve as our vital green lung but it is a natural barrier that separates towns and villages. I do not want us to throw our Green Belt away or it be taken from future generations for the sake of an ill-conceived plan that will just cause further strain to the people of my constituency.”
But the council’s executive member for neighbourhoods, planning and support services Councillor Peter Gruen said: “The focus of the strategy is to provide a way in which Leeds can continue to develop and grow as a major UK city to meet the needs of all residents both now and into the future. The balancing act is to ensure we do that in a fair and sustainable way, protecting what is unique about Leeds as a city in terms of its character but also allowing for vital new growth and regeneration.
“Utilising our brownfield areas to benefit our existing communities is very important.
“Housing is rightly a key element of the strategy which a lot of people are concerned about, but as long as we can agree there is an acceptance that all parts of the city take their share of new housing and especially affordable housing it can be managed in a fair and sustainable way.”
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