Parties’ dispute over LDF

Coun Mehboob Khan
Coun Mehboob Khan

Politicians are at loggerheads over the thousands of new homes which could be built after a council planning strategy was recommended for withdrawal.

Kirklees Council met inspector Roland Punshon last month to look at issues of concern surrounding its Local Development Framework (LDF).

Coun Nicola Turner.

Coun Nicola Turner.

The plans set out where the council believed 22,470 homes could be built and 122 hectares of land could be released for business use by 2028.

But Mr Punshon raised a number of concerns, including the use of green belt land, the overall housing numbers and whether Kirklees had worked closely enough with neighbouring authorities.

He suggested the council consider withdrawing its plan, which has left party leaders pointing fingers at each other over who is responsible.

Conservative leader Coun Robert Light branded the LDF a “shambles” and blamed Labour for the outcome.

He said: “The LDF has been the biggest issue facing the Labour administration and they have demonstrated total ineptitude in the way they have dealt with it.

“Incapable of developing a new approach, they have sacrificed hundreds of acres of land for development, and are responsible for the betrayal of communities.”

But Labour leader Coun Mehboob Khan criticised the current government.

He said: “It is clear competence by the government.

“They want to build on every bit of urban space and work with developers to help them win the next election.”

Liberal Democrat deputy leader Coun Nicola Turner branded the process an “undemocratic sham”.

She said: “The imminent withdrawal of the LDF proposal is an absolute disaster for communities across Kirklees.

“Developers are already submitting planning applications for greenfield sites that could have been protected but will now be at risk.”

Green Party leader Andrew Cooper said the inspector’s reasons lacked credibility and was a cover for the figures put in for housing.

The plans could be withdrawn at a full council meeting due to be held on Wednesday October 23.

They are expected to consult on revised proposals next summer and resubmit plans to the inspector in January 2015.