Friday 20 January 2012

Preserve Bradford's Greenbelt!

It was disturbing indeed to sit in on the Bradford Council as they made up their minds on the development plan from Holmewood and Tong. They voted to build 600 new houses within the Holmewood and a staggering 2100 new homes on the greenbelt land around it.

The previous council determination to build new housing only on brownfield sites seems to have gone out of the window. The council officers made a number of points to assert their position. 1) the plan is the only way to develop the Holmewood estate 2) That Leeds Council and people have no right to influence Bradford's position 3) That young people need housing 4) That those opposed to the decision were simply a noisy minority 5) that the land was simply 'farmland' so not such an important part of the Greenbelt

The clear and obvious case against building nearly 3000 new homes around the estate, is that it will do little to improve the conditions of the people who live there. In fact, it will add to the pressure on local amenities and take away one of the few advantages to living on the estate - access to beautiful greenbelt.

Of course Holmewood needs improvements, but the new estates already built on the edge of area have proven disastrous, and not improved social integration in the area. Yes, young people need new houses, but they need low cost, starter homes and flats - closer to the city centre. They don't need 3/4 bedroom expensive houses, the ones developers are hoping to make a killing from out of this development.

To call those who bothered to come to the meetings and 'consultations' a noisy minority was disingenuous indeed. Those in favour of the scheme had not got thousands of names on a petition, or proven that it was what the area really needed. It seems that any protest that the council disagrees with is far too easily dismissed. Holmewood folk are losing their greenbelt because it is easier to screw over working class communities rather than encroaching on the greenbelt surrounding some of the more affluent areas of Bradford.

It is not over yet.

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