LDF – we’re back where we were 10 years ago

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I read the report on the state of the LDF with surprise.

The process has never been chaotic, or confused; it has gone on far too long, and over the last decade a small fortune has been wasted on a so called ‘consultancy’ where the people have been asked what they thought, and have then been ignored.

At the meeting the other month I heard someone say the result is not democratic. It has been government of the people, by some of the people, for some of the people. Is this democracy?

To some of these people, they have a democratic mandate to proceed with the LDF because have been elected and form the majority on the council. (They forget that only a minority voted, and so they represent only a fraction of that minority).

The LDF has shown that some vocal local inhabitants, or to one member of the council –‘you lot up there’ – and because we oppose the LDF, we are their opponents – so they seem to be arguing you did not vote for them – that’s one interpretation of the outcome.

Do not be under any illusion that the withdrawal of the LDF means that areas like Chidswell as safe, indeed they are more at risk now as per the Inspector and the council (October 23) ‘the core strategy housing requirement is significantly less than specified in RSS and is based on “effective demand” rather than housing need.’ The Inspector ‘regards this as a “unilateral approach” and a break with “the historic collaboration provided by the RSS” which provided a co-ordinated basis for individual authority’s plans.’

What does that mean, it is simple, the planners look at what is the population and what they think the growth will be, and then you need houses to meet that need. That is in some quarters argued to be 34,000 homes, not the odd 20,000 in the LDF – greater than 30 years’ population growth in Kirklees. There again, it is said that 74,000 homes are required in Leeds and 45,000 in Bradford.

And nearly all the public objectors have objected to preserve their bit of green belt, they have not said where the houses should go, let alone commented on whether the 20,000 houses are required.

The Inspector on the one hand says the plan has to work, but on the other separates out employment. I would argue that if the plan is to work, there has to be work for those that live in the additional houses. You might think people can live on benefits...well think about it; £70 benefit will buy only around 20 pints of bitter in a typical pub, in the 1980s benefit would buy around 100 pints. I am using that as a comparison to show roughly how much benefit has been cut. (The price of bread varies too much!) Child benefit and housing benefit may make a bigger difference.

CD16 (The Housing Requirement section of the LDF) of the LDF suggests that the additional housing will be for immigrants anyway! Yes, take that in, many have not.

We are then back to where we were 10 years ago, looking at what is the number of houses required in Kirklees, let alone where they go? Kirklees will have to spend more money on research, and so they should...but this time let’s hope produce something that many read with disbelief?

DEREK CARTWRIGHT

Manor Farm Drive

Soothill