Infrastructure not fit to handle extra housing

Wharfedale Observer: Dr David Ingham, chairman of Wharfedale and Airedale Review Development group Dr David Ingham, chairman of Wharfedale and Airedale Review Development group

Aireborough is facing disaster after a government inspector agreed a 70,000 housing target for Leeds, campaigners are warning.

The group Wharfedale and Airedale Review Development (Ward) says it is at a “complete loss” to understand the decision following a public hearing in October.

The inspector gave his backing to the 70,000 housing target by 2028 contained in the Leeds Core Strategy. He has refused to support a 90,000 target requested by developers but has also disappointed campaigners who were calling for a much lower figure.

Ward is arguing that the target is too high and says that Leeds has proposed the highest new-build figure despite having the lowest population increase of any major UK city.

Chairman Dr David Ingham said: “What must be remembered is that the higher the housing target, the higher the five year land supply must be and, therefore, this means that greenbelt land will have to be allocated and for many parts of the city, including Aireborough, that will be an absolute disaster.”

He said many areas of Leeds would be unable to cope with the massive increase in population from further new builds.

“The decision to place 2,300 extra houses in Aireborough, as a share of the housing target figure of 70,000, can only have a disastrous effect upon road congestion and transport infrastructure, as there are no plans to develop or improve the A65 and the A658,” said Dr Ingham.

He urged as many residents as possible to support the Neighbourhood Planning processes currently underway to protect local communities from the “disastrous” effects of the planning decision.

Adel and Wharfedale ward councillor Barry Anderson added: “I recently campaigned at the public inquiry into housing in the city for a reduction down to 50,000 from the 70,000 houses proposed to be built within the 15 year planned period.

“I am strongly in favour of any housing being built on brownfield first. It is my view that unless there is significant investment in local infrastructure e.g. schools, roads, public transport and improved health facilities this area cannot take much more housing development.

“I am not against development per se, as I want to see regeneration of brownfield sites locally, as evidenced by my support for both the Bodington Hall and the Government Buildings sites in Adel.”

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