The maps below illustrate the many locations Bradford Council have identified for new housing development. These areas are identified by the brown shaded areas.
The map below also illustrates which areas of Keighley and the immediate surrounding areas have the formal classification of Green Belt, Open Space, Sport & Recreation, is a Site of Special Scientific Interest, a Local Nature Reserves, a Local Wildlife Site or is a Special Protection Area and a Special Area of Conservation.
It is noted that many of the sites are greenfield sites with some being classified as green belt sites.
Bradford Council are currently consulting the public on their Housing Strategy for the next 15 years.
For all of us in Keighley, this could result in a Housing Strategy being adopted which results in many houses being developed in our community on land which has green belt designation.
It is my strong view that our green belt land should not be considered for development at all as part of Bradford Councils proposals and it is deeply frustrating that they have put forward proposals on this basis.
Building on Green Belt land is in contravention to the Government’s aims and objectives. The fundamental aim of the Government’s Green Belt policy is to prevent urban sprawl by keeping land permanently open. The Government’s policy on protection for the Green Belt is set out in chapter 13 of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), which clearly states the importance of Green Belt land and emphasises that when protecting the Green Belt, local authorities should maximise the use of suitable brownfield sites before considering changes to Green Belt boundaries.
The NPPF demands that there should be “exceptional circumstances” before Green Belt boundaries can be changed and states that inappropriate development is harmful to the Green Belt and should be approved only in “very special circumstances”.
It is my own personal view that green belt land should be protected from any development.
With this in mind, I do not believe Bradford Council has provided within their consultation documents sufficient justification which provides “exceptional circumstances” for why these green belt sites should be considered or detailed what the “very special circumstances” are for releasing these sites from Green Belt protection.
The NPPF goes on to state that “before concluding that exceptional circumstances exist to justify changes to Green Belt boundaries, the strategic policy-making authority (which is Bradford Council) should be able to demonstrate that it has examined fully all other reasonable options for meeting its identified need for development”.
The NPPF highlights that the Local Authority must identify a housing need requirement for a particular settlement, so that housing growth numbers can be justified. I don’t believe this has been explored sufficiently enough. I have seen no evidence which stipulates that Keighley’s housing need for the next 15 year period warrants releasing as much green field and indeed green belt land for development. Likewise, I haven’t seen any justification that demonstrates that all other possible options have been considered which warrants our green belt being developed on.