MP makes a stand over housing figures

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MP Alec Shelbrooke has told the Wetherby News that he is prepared to be “the last man standing” as he gets ready to argue against Leeds City Council’s Site Allocations Plan at a public examination next month.

The Council’s plan will be scrutinised by two independent planning inspectors during a four-week public examination, starting on October 10.

If the plan is found to be sound it will give the greenlight for developers to build 5,000 new homes on greenbelt land across the outer north east of the city.

The Elmet and Rothwell MP, who will be coming back from the annual session of the NATO parliamentary assembly in Romania to speak at the examination, said: “This is not just about whether there is a need for 5,000 new houses or not, it is a basic argument of policy.

“The Council’s own policies set out the need for a sequential approach to allocating land for housing, and to do so using a settlement hierarchy. This means the Council should be allocating brownfield land before protected greenbelt and it should be using land where infrastructure is in place to deal with the added pressure.

“Instead, the Council is proposing to concrete over large areas of the greenbelt, such as the ancient Parlington Estate near Aberford in my constituency.

“Even if I’m the last man standing I intend to speak up for my constituents and argue against this unnecessary pressure on the greenbelt.”

In a public consultation earlier this year over 5,000 residents objected to the Council’s proposals for the Parlington Estate.

The Council’s Core Strategy agreed a target of 70,000 new dwellings across Leeds by 2028, but a recent review has suggested this should be lower.

Mr Shelbrooke has even asked the Secretary of State to intervene. In a Written Question in the House of Commons, Mr Shelbrooke asked “what mechanisms are available to his Department to require Leeds City Council to review its Local Plan to take into account the Council’s own downward revision of its housing target before it reaches public inquiry”.