Brownfield land must be priority for building new homes

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From: John King, planning officer, Campaign to Protect Rural England South Yorkshire.

WE read with interest your articles about the Government’s changes to the planning system – and the impact they will have upon areas of countryside not currently protected by green belts or other designations.

We’ve been campaigning for many years for an extension to the green belt in Doncaster. At present, the eastern half is only protected by a countryside policy designated by the council.

Under the National Planning Policy Framework such local policies will have limited weight compared with economic considerations.

If undesignated countryside is no longer protected, then the need to expand Doncaster’s green belt is even more urgent.

The council has committed itself to the development of employment in the east along the M18 and M180.

We are gravely concerned that the National Planning Policy Framework’s single-minded promotion of economic growth will weaken the authority’s ability to control unrestricted urban sprawl and create an unbalanced distribution of development across the borough.

The Government talks about “sustainable development”. In Doncaster and other towns in South Yorkshire, weakening countryside protection will greatly hinder the re-use of brownfield land and urban regeneration. This is not sustainable.

From: Bob Watson, Springfield Road, Baildon.

YOUR Editorial (Yorkshire Post, February 3) rightly stated that the “new housing figures don’t add up”. This is readily apparent in Bradford, where we are told that there is a need for an extra 45,500 houses by 2028.

However, I am given to understand that the projected population increase is 103,400 within that timescale which, for the stated requirement of 45,500 homes, equates to 2.27 people per household.

This household figure is less than the historic mix of 2.6, which is also based on a different ethnic mix. It seems that those of South Asian descent, who will probably constitute a large proportion of the population increase, often have larger families, which would tend to imply that the purported requirement of 45,500 houses is a considerable over-statement.

Additionally, perhaps many of the proposed properties would be of the wrong type and in the wrong area?

Surely, until this is properly investigated, there should be no sanction of further building on greenfield sites, especially as many brownfield sites are readily available?

From: Mike Hughes, Mill Dam, Clifford, Wetherby.

YOUR front page and Comment column sums it all up, we have a city blighted by swathes of brownfield land desperately needing to be developed and yet the Leeds planners and developers are proposing to build 21,000 new properties on green field and green belt land (Yorkshire Post, February 3).

In the village of Clifford, it is proposed to build at least 90 homes on land which is greenfield, green belt, within the conservation area of the village and on active agricultural land which only last year was designated as a key green area by Leeds City Council’s own Sustainable Development Unit.

It is not just Clifford which is in danger from the planners and developers but many other villages surrounding the city.

Development of green areas is far less expensive than tackling the problems of brownfield. Bluntly, this means more profit for the developers and land owners. So please, Yorkshire Post, continue your good work. The city needs brownfield development.