Communities secretary Sajid Javid has thrown out an objection from a Tory MP to Bradford MDC’s local plan, which includes proposals to release green belt land for development.
The plan, which was approved by the Planning Inspectorate in September, includes proposals to build some of the proposed 42,000 new homes over the next 15 years on green belt land.
The plan, which still protects 98% of Bradford’s 23,890 hectares of green belt land, was due to be approved and formally adopted by the city’s executive last October.
Source: Picture taken by Tim Green
However, Shipley MP Philip Davies objected and housing and planning minister Gavin Barwell placed a temporary holding direction on Bradford’s local plan.
However, Mr Javid has now sent a letter to the council confirming the holding direction has been lifted which will allow Bradford to formally adopt its core strategy.
The letter said: “The secretary of state acknowledges that the plan does not alter the existing boundaries of the green belt and that any future changes to green belt boundaries will be through the preparation of site allocations.”
The core strategy does not identify individual development sites but sets out broad housing numbers for different settlements and areas for which land will need to be identified in other more detailed plans to follow.
LGC reported how Mr Javid said in November where councils were “willing to take the tough decisions” he would “back them all the way”, provided they have “sensible, robust local plans”, although he has since taken a more robust stance on protecting green belt land when fielding questions from MPs in parliament.
The housing white paper also states “green belt boundaries should be amended only in exceptional circumstances when local authorities can demonstrate that they have fully examined all other reasonable options for meeting their identified housing requirements”.
Bradford’s leader Susan Hinchcliffe (Lab) said: “From the outset everyone knew that the local plan obviously complied with all the planning rules set by government and therefore it would have been odd for government to find their own rules defective.
“My biggest concern over this last few months has been that developers would put an application in on green belt anywhere in the district and without a local plan we would have been powerless to stop them.
“The secretary of state confirms our view that green belt should only be developed in exceptional circumstances. We agree. We have as much concern about the countryside and want to protect it as much as anyone else.”