LDF withdrawn after Government demands more housing

KIRKLEES has withdrawn its Local Development Framework after the Government demanded more land be allocated for housing development.

The decision means areas the council had previously protected from new housing development could now be at risk.

Kirklees had protected areas of the district from any new housing allocation following a long campaign by Batley and Spen MP Mike Wood who drew up an Option X as an alternative to the authority’s first four original drafts.

A joint statement issued by Mr Wood and Kirklees leader Coun Mehboob Khan said the news meant that the council would now have to look again at the LDF, which is the planning bluprint for industry and housing for the next 15 years.

Coun Khan said: “The LDF was prepared in the context of a buoyant housing market and we earmarked ample housing but the Government inspector, who is responsible for implementing the Coalition’s policies, has demanded even more.

“It is a real blow for Kirklees to have this unexpected and worrying response but the reason for it lies with those who now have the minister’s ear. Developers are major funders of the Conservative party and they were opposed to the abolition of the regional spatial strategy (RSS) which dictated housing numbers.

“The Government took two years to abolish the RSS, opposed every step of the way by developers. These developers are now using their influence to re-introduce an increase in housing numbers and communities in Kirklees will now suffer.”

Mr Wood said: “The council accepted our submission to the LDF arguing for areas to be protected, most notably in the built up areas of Batley and Spen Valley, from new housing development, but this edict from the Coalition means these areas will now have to be re-examined to satisfy these demands.

“The Government’s hunger for more housing will have a direct impact on people in the Spen Valley.”

Kirklees Council will now have to look again at its LDF submission in light of the Government’s demands.

Fore more see this week’s paper.