‘We can hit target and protect 99 per cent of green belt’

Calderdale Council says it can protect 99 per cent of the borough's green belt land and still meet demand for new housing

Calderdale Council says it can protect 99 per cent of the borough's green belt land and still meet demand for new housing

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Calderdale Council has rejected claims that vast swathes of the borough’s green belt land will be put at risk by strategic plans for housing growth and job creation over the coming decades.

Last week a report produced by the Campaign to Protect Rural England sparked speculation that huge tracts of countryside could be lost to meet need for thousands of new houses.

But Calderdale Council has responded by saying it can meet this extra demand and still protect 99 per cent of the borough’s green belt land.

The council is required by law to produce a local plan to manage development for the next 20 to 30 years.

Current projections suggest that around 10,500 extra homes may be needed, alongside further employment land, to accommodate the growing population.

Coun Dan Sutherland, Calderdale Council’s assistant cabinet member for strategic planning, said: “We are committed to protecting the green belt to the fullest extent allowed by government rules.

“We believe we could achieve our local plan’s development targets whilst leaving literally about 99 per cent of green belt unaffected.

“All proposals will be subject to extensive consultation and everyone’s voice will be heard.”

Over the past seven years, 93 per cent of new homes in Calderdale and almost all new employment facilities have been built on brownfield sites.

“However, the new national planning framework will make this approach considerably more difficult,” Coun Sutherland said.

“Sadly, we also have well over 2,000 homes, complete with planning permission, which developers have yet to begin building.

“Bringing them to completion as soon as possible would further ease any potential future pressure on our vital countryside areas.”