MASSIVE cuts in housing targets across Wharfedale are being welcomed amid claims that the original figures were "grossly inflated".

In Bradford Council's 2019 partial review the targets have been halved in Ilkley and Menston - while the Addingham figure has been cut by 62 per cent.The figures for Burley have gone down by 21.42 per cent.

MP John Grogan said: "When I was elected as Ilkley’s MP I said I would work hard on a cross party basis and with local campaign groups to persuade Bradford Council to bring down their housing targets for Wharfedale.

"In the case of Ilkey the target has now been reduced by 50 per cent to 500 and in Addingham by 62 per cent to 75. Across Wharfedale as a whole a target of 2500 in 2017 has now become 1425 just two years later.

"The next stage will be the site selection process for the houses which will be built but we are in a much better position to defend the Greenbelt than before. My hope now is that a future Government will strengthen local councils’ powers to ensure that a large proportion of the houses built are affordable for the average person."

The cuts were also welcomed by Ilkley district councillor Kyle Green.

He said: "The reduction in the number of new houses required in the district is welcome, however, this shows that the previous strategy was flawed and did not properly reflect the needs of the district. Indeed, with 19 out of every 1000 new homes built in Bradford left empty, and around 4,090 homes in total left empty, the council must work to make sure these homes are occupied before building on greenbelt land and imposing new houses on towns like Ilkley."

Ilkley councillor Anne Hawkesworth said: "The council have repeatedly been told that they had overinflated the employment 'ambition'. The bogus employment figures gave the leverage for higher housing development."

She added: "The big danger to watch out for now is the council's intention to initiate a 'green belt boundary review'."

Wharfedale councillor Jackie Whiteley said: "I am delighted that the numbers will come down for Burley in Wharfedale probably from 700 to 550. This will ease the burden on infrastructure but we are not out of the woods yet. "Burley already has 350 houses either built or in the pipeline so the number required would only be in the region of 200. This has implications for the Sun Lane Development which is awaiting a decision from the Secretary of State. If he agrees to that planning permission it will add an additional 500 houses that aren’t needed.

"I shall be making representation to Bradford’s consultation questioning whether in fact Ilkley can support the growth in jobs that the housing numbers are based on. I believe the figures they are using are flawed."

Addingham councillor Adrian Naylor claimed the core strategy's original figures were "grossly inflated."

"They have come down to what I was asking for about four years ago," he said.

But he warned that the greenbelt was under threat from the reduced figures.

"The housing numbers for Addingham are reducing from 200 to 75," he said. "But 46 per cent of those houses are expected to be delivered only if they release greenbelt to do it."

Bradford Council has said all areas across the district will see a reduction in the housing targets with the exception of the city centre.It says more than 81 per cent of all new housing will be in brownfield and non-greenbelt locations and proposals will see a reduction by half in the amount of greenbelt land that could be released for development - with the majority being in the Bradford city area.