Plans for hundreds of homes on greenbelt in Burley in Wharfedale will now be stopped and subject to independent scrutiny and a local inquiry, after government halts the scheme following lobbying from Philip Davies.
Local Government Secretary James Brokenshire has “called in” the scheme - meaning the decision to allow the build is taken out of Bradford Council’s hands and given to the Planning Inspectorate.
The move follows Shipley MP Philip Davies raising the issues with government ministers.
He said: “This is fantastic news for my constituents who have been opposed to the plans to build on the green belt site. No homes should be built on green belt sites until all brownfield sites are used. It was clear from the beginning this proposal was wrong, not only was it on greenbelt land but using the land at Sun Lane and Ilkley Road was not going to meet the need for housing in the city centre. There are ample brownfield sites to meet demand.
“I am delighted now residents will be able to have their say and the proposal independently scrutinised. The fact that only about ten planning applications are called in each year by Government shows my concerns and those of my constituents about the Council’s decision have been recognised and James agrees need independent evaluation.”
A letter has been sent to planning bosses at the Council explaining the reasons behind the decision. Mr Brokenshire said he wants further information on policies on the National Planning Police Framework on protecting Green Belt and also on delivering a wide choice of quality homes, along with information on the extent to which the proposed development is consistent with the development plan for the area. He also said any information the Planning Inspectorate deems relevant will also need to be provided.
The Planning Inspectorate in Bristol will now make arrangements to hold a public inquiry regarding the planning application.
Mr Brokenshire added: “The Government’s policy on call in is to be very selective. It is right that almost all cases the initial decision on whether the application should proceed should be taken by the local planning authority. In general, planning applications are only called in if planning issues of more than local importance are involved.
“There are occasions when it is right for me to decide the issue, normally following a public inquiry. I have sent a letter to Bradford Council which explains the reasons for my decision and indicates the issues on which I wish to be informed for the purposes of my consideration of the application. Arrangements for the public inquiry will be made shortly.”