Labour's plans to destroy Leeds Green Belt

15 July 2018

Labour’s plans to destroy Leeds Green Belt

 

All around our city the green belt is under threat. Tetley Fields in Weetwood, Parlington in East Leeds, Moseley Wood in Cookridge are just three green belt sites which may now be covered in concrete.

 Tetley Field in Weetwood

Under threat: Tetley Field in Weetwood

In 2014 the city council adopted its Core Strategy. They calculated that around 70,000 new houses needed to be built. Where could they go?

The council then embarked on their Site Allocations Plan: an exercise designed to identify potential housing sites. The result was that many of the 70,000 dwellings would be built on brownfield sites but some greenbelt land would still be needed.

But then new evidence came to light – a fresh analysis by the Department for Housing, Communities & Local Government showed that Leeds didn’t need 70,000 new dwellings. The real figure was closer to 43,000.

This was a very positive development: it meant that Leeds would not need to use any green belt land. One might think the city council would welcome it with open arms. But no, the Labour party administration in our city is still committed to its original figure – though it means destruction of precious countryside.

Everyone accepts that there is a housing crisis in Britain. But the big house-building corporations lining up at the planning inspection earlier this week are not interested in building social housing for those on average incomes. Those companies make much more profit from building “executive homes” on green field land. When the corporations promise that a proportion of a new estate will be “affordable” they frequently renege on the assurance by saying that they can’t make enough profit.

We don’t have to destroy our unique heritage. The Council to Protect Rural England has estimated that there is enough brownfield land in England to build 1.3 million new dwellings. And allowing large estates to be built on the edge of Leeds will just mean more traffic on our congested roads and more air pollution.

The destruction of the British countryside is a one-way process: once it’s gone, it’s gone forever. Let’s stop this needless vandalism.