A public inquiry into building 500 homes on greenbelt in Burley in Wharfdale will take place at Bradford’s City Hall – despite calls from an MP to hold it at a more local venue to ensure those affected can have their say.
Shipley MP Philip Davies said the decision was an insult to his constituents who would be affected by the build and another example of the disregard the council has for people living outside the city centre.
The upcoming inquiry is happening following government intervention over the plans to build on greenbelt after Mr Davies raised the issue with them. Last summer Local Government Secretary James Brokenshire “called in” the planned scheme, which meant the decision to allow the build was taken out of Bradford Council’s hands and given to the Planning Inspectorate.
Mr Davies said: “I have been campaigning for this meeting to be held locally as it is only right it is held in the area where the build could be. It is unacceptable to expect people affected by the development to travel into the city centre when there are suitable locations nearer where the meeting could be held. This will cost them money whether on public transport or by car. These residents are the people that matter and I expect these are the people the Planning Inspectorate are expecting to hear from, not residents of the city centre. By choosing City Hall as a venue it once again gives the impression to my constituents that Bradford Council are not interested in anything they have to say.”
Mr Davies has opposed the development since it the proposal was submitted to the council. He raised the issue with government after the council admitted it did not need to build as many houses as it first thought allowed a brownfield city centre site earmarked for housing to be turned into a car park.
He added: “It was clear from the outset that this proposal was wrong. Building on land at Sun Lane and Ilkley Road was never going to meet the demand for housing in the city centre and the council seem to be forgetting this is greenbelt. Planning policy is clear on building on greenbelt.”
An email from Bradford Council claims holding the meeting at City Hall will save money as officials needing to attend the meeting would be given travel expenses if it were at a different venue.