Keep up the pressure to save our irreplaceable green belt

From: Geoff Hairsine, Addingham, Ilkley.

THANK you for continuing to highlight the ongoing threat to the green belt in your Comment leader (Yorkshire Post, August 27), and in subsequent articles by Ben Stafford, Head of Campaigns of the Campaign To Protect Rural England, on September 14, and last week by local MP Greg Mulholland.

In Wharfedale, despite there being a lack of suitable infrastructure, Bradford’s Local Development Framework calls for 3,100 new homes, of which 40 per cent are targeted to be on previously developed land, implying that the remaining 60 per cent will be on green spaces. In the Pennine towns and villages of Bradford district the situation is even worse, with only 30 per cent on previously developed land. Meanwhile in Bradford city and Keighley, where demand is greatest, many “brownfield” sites remain undeveloped.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Here in Addingham 400 new homes are proposed, of which only 44 are allocated to a part-brownfield site, with most of the remainder on green belt land.

Recent reports that Bradford’s planners are prioritising the release of green space/green belt in lieu of brownfield land, which builders are refusing to develop, is of major concern. The claim that only in this way can they meet Government requirements for a five-year deliverable land supply will only encourage developers to continue land-banking such sites in expectation of even more green belt releases. This situation is nothing short of scandalous!

The new National Planning Policy Framework states that “the Government attaches great importance to green belts” and “once established, green belt boundaries should only be altered in exceptional circumstances”. Moreover, David Cameron clearly stated on Countryfile that: “Housing estates will not be plonked next to villages.”

All organisations and individuals who value our irreplaceable green belt heritage need to keep up the pressure on councillors and MPs to lobby the Government on this most important issue.

From: Jim Campbell, Kempwell Drive, Rawmarsh, Rotherham.

WITH reference to your articles about green belt land (Yorkshire Post, September 25 and 26) may I tell you about our green spaces? In Rawmarsh we have our own Birchwood Community Forest and miles of green belt public footpaths used by millions over the years.

For the last six years our green spaces have been closed to wheelchairs, prams, the elderly and schools, all because of neglect, lack of maintenance and lies. It is only the able-bodied who can access our woodland and public footpaths and at times walkers need wellies and waterproof clothing, even in summer.

Our local school, before 2006, used to have lessons here and designed the Dragon Bridge and a seat. There was the Heritage Lottery Fund to improve footpaths and cut back vegetation. There was also a package to help teachers give lessons to their pupils about 
the woodland. We never got any of it.

It is our heritage. Council staff, councillors and MPs know nothing of our community forest and public footpaths. I used to be an adoptee of a footpath and was required to let the council know about any problems. They knew nothing – the same as our councillors and MPs.

From: David W.Wright, Uppleby, Easingwold, North Yorkshire.

JENNIFER Hunter (Yorkshire Post, October 1) has clearly stated some of the problems of our ever-growing population – the lack of jobs, the rush to build yet more homes and the desecration of our countryside with the inefficient, costly and ugly wind turbines/farms.

It is no use for our politicans to pontificate about revitalising the economy by building more homes, presumably on green field sites, when there are no jobs for the incoming residents. Surely they should be concentrating on attracting new businesses into the UK similar to the success story of Nissan on Teesside.