Campaigners trying to protect greenfield sites in parts of the Bradford district from developers have won the support of a national group headed by comedian and activist Griff Rhys Jones.
Among those attending a meeting addressed by Mr Jones at St Peter’s Church, Addingham, last night were representatives of Menston Action Group and Ben Rhydding group, Wharfedale and Airedale Review Development, and members of both Ilkley and Addingham Civic Societies.
Mr Jones, who is president of action group Civic Voice, is on a four-day tour of the Yorkshire and Humberside region which coincides with the Government pushing forward with the Growth and Infrastructure Bill.
He told the meeting: “The problems which Addingham and Ilkley are experiencing are happening across the country. It is not sustainable to move on to green belt areas.
“What is sustainable is recycling what areas we already have that could be built on.
“By building in areas like Addingham and Ilkley it could spoil what I think it is a very beautiful place. I think it is very important that I am here speaking to local groups about these issues.”
Community groups had the opportunity to chat to Mr Jones about his work and discuss issues concerning them.
Prior to Mr Jones’s visit members of Addingham Civic Society had raised their concerns with Civic Voice about the thousands of houses proposed to be built on the green belt in the Bradford district.
Committee member Peter Wilkinson said: “We briefed him about the arguments and emerging issues with developers manipulating the National Planning Policy to access green belt in Bradford.”
A representative of Menston Action Group said he wanted to listen to Mr Jones’s advice and report them back to members of the groups.
Members of Ben Rhydding Action Group echoed their concerns over plans to build homes on greenfield sites in the llkley area but pointed out that the problem they faced was a shortage of previously developed land.
Mr Jones said: “If the Government is serious about localism, it has to listen to the concerns coming forward from civic groups, residents’ associations and local councils.
“We agree with the Government that getting the economy moving is essential, but the myriad of proposals coming forward are clearly not the answer.
“They are creating uncertainty, not confidence.”