Councilor hits back at 1,000 new homes in Huddersfield and says system is ‘flawed’
Huddersfield’s greenbelt will continue to be sacrificed to build unnecessary homes as government guidelines mean councils are sticking to outdated housing target figures.
That’s the view of Lib Dem Councilor Alison Munro, who is pushing back more than 1,000 new homes earmarked for multiple plots of land in Lepton and Fenay Bridge.
She believes Kirklees Council’s local plan is fundamentally flawed as it is based on Office of National Statistics (ONS) data from 2014.
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The council said it was following government guidelines in relying on the numbers.
Cllr Munro, who represents the borough of Almondbury, challenged council planners to justify the need to build more than 31,000 homes in the borough when there had been ‘a lack of progress’ on the part of government to reveal any legislation to safeguard housing count data.
This prompted a response from senior Labor adviser Peter McBride, who said the government was still requiring councils such as Kirklees to base their local plan housing needs on ONS figures from a while ago. eight years.
He said: “Therefore, this council is simply following the housing need assessment rules which the government requires councils to use.
“The council’s local plan is up to date and meets housing needs, which the government-appointed town planning inspector said was the appropriate requirement for Kirklees.
“Until the government changes the planning rules, our local plan is the best way we have to provide housing and protect our important green belt and landscapes from unplanned development.”
Cllr Munro has previously argued that not all 31,000 houses are needed.
Last year, she said “exaggerated” figures showed projected growth of 47,800 people and 27,300 households in Kirklees.
She argued that actual population growth has been much slower than expected so far, and objectively only around 900 new homes are needed each year, 16,600 less by 2031 than the local plan’s target of 1 730 per year.
Reacting to Clr McBride’s statement, she said: “The council claims it has to follow government rules. But it’s actually advice. They don’t. to have to follow him.”
She also pointed to a draft government white paper on planning reforms which she said had been “thrown to the long grass” by Housing Secretary Michael Gove due to the “widespread unpopularity” of the proposals.
She added: “It links local authorities to ONS figures from 2014 which means we are building too many houses [in Kirklees].”
Along with her party colleague Clr Andrew Marchington (Golcar), she tabled a motion asking Council Leader Shabir Pandor to write to Housing Minister Stuart Andrew to clarify the government’s intentions to reform the planning system and overhaul dependency to 2014 ONS data “to better reflect current population growth”.
It is unlikely that this motion will be heard before the June full board meeting.