AMID growing alarm over Government plans to boost rural house building, countryside campaigners today (Jan 07) claimed that huge areas of greenfield land were under threat in Yorkshire and the Humber.
The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) claims that the Government has secretly increased the number of news homes planned for Yorkshire to 30,000 a year, putting thousands of acres of open land – including green belt areas - at risk.
Countryside will be lost forever and much needed regeneration in our towns and cities will fail to take place.
Jenny Haynes - CPRE
This, the campaigners believe, is a nonsense at a time of the credit crunch where little house building is taking place because of a nationwide shortage of mortgages – and whilst 80,000 houses already stand empty in the region.The CPRE statement goes on: “The Regional Spatial Strategy (RSS) sets out new housing growth of 22,140 a year until 2026. Of this 35%, or nearly 7,800 new homes each year, would be on greenfield land.
“Despite the credit crunch, and the new plan being in force for just seven months, these figures are already being reviewed upwards with up to 30,000 new homes a year now being planned for.
“The RSS Review is also considering where these new homes should go and has identified greenfield land between some of our towns and cities as possible locations.”
Regional Policy Officer, Jenny Haynes commented: “We have grave concerns over the impact of these proposals on the countryside of Yorkshire and the Humber. With up to one million homes across the country standing empty, including 80,000 in this region alone, and repossessions happening daily, CPRE doesn’t believe it makes sense, or is realistic, to plan for such huge increases in house-building.
“We are particularly worried that the review is considering building on the gap between Leeds and Bradford and the area to the west of Sheffield. Both of these areas are within the green belt.”
“In addition to undermining urban regeneration in the region’s towns and cities, the new housing figures are completely unrealistic at a time when house-building has virtually collapsed.
“By forcing local councils to find land for homes we believe won’t be built, many greenfield sites and green belt land will be allocated unnecessarily. When the market does improve developers will inevitably cherry pick these sites. Countryside will be lost forever and much needed regeneration in our towns and cities will fail to take place.”