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Council 'must be more creative' over housing, say Tories
Thinking up creative ideas for getting homes built on inner-city brownfield sites should be one of Bradford Council’s top priorities, according to the Conservatives.
The group was responding to the publication of a new five-year housing and homelessness strategy for the district.
Councillor Simon Cooke, the Conservative group’s spokesman for housing, said the Council needed to find ways of encouraging developers to deliver homes on previously-developed sites – which can often be more complex and less profitable to build on.
Coun Cooke said it wasn’t enough for planners to simply earmark the sites for housing.
He suggested talking to developers about the barriers to working on brownfield sites. He also said there could be funding streams which could be tapped into.
He said: “We have got to be much more creative about how we work with the private sector and with housing associations and others to actually deliver these things.”
Coun Cooke said this approach wasn’t just about saving rural areas from development.
He said: “It’s not just about saving green fields – which we need to save – it’s about making the inner city a nicer and more successful place.”
Coun Cooke said there were a number of former industrial sites, such as empty factories, which had been allocated for housing for years.
The new document, by Bradford Council and the Bradford Housing Partnership, does stress the importance of unlocking stalled sites, working closely with developers and for the Council and social housing providers to build homes themselves.
But Coun Cooke said the current strategy was “a long way” from being a concrete plan for driving forward house-building on trickier patches of land. He said: “We need more than a wish list, we need concrete ideas.”
But Coun Val Slater said the strategy set out the Council’s “key wants” and the details of how they would be delivered would follow.
She said: “I don’t disagree with him about needing some creative approaches for getting brownfield sites for housing.”
But, she said: “There’s very little we can do in Bradford on our own. This is a country-wide issue.”
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