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Bradford Council debate on housing sparks row
8:00am Friday 13th December 2013 in News
Four words said at a Bradford Council meeting have sparked a blazing row between the Labour administration and the Conservative opposition.
On Tuesday, the full Council had a debate about the authority’s Local Plan, a blueprint for where housing and industry should be built over the coming 17 years.
They were voting on whether to approve the plan’s Core Strategy, which set out overall housing number targets and suggested the loss of some green belt land, among other things.
During a heated debate, the Council’s deputy leader, Councillor Imran Hussain, gave an impassioned speech in favour of the plan, in which he told the Conservatives: “You’re gonna get houses.”
The Conservatives say they were so shocked by the remark they voted against the plan. Although this was not enough to de-rail it, they say they were taking a stand at what they saw as Coun Hussain pre-empting the whole process.
Councillor Glen Miller, leader of the Conservative group, said before the meeting his party had not yet decided whether to vote for the plan, against it or abstain, but Coun Hussain’s comments had pushed them into opposing it.
He said: “We were all stunned when Councillor Imran Hussain, the deputy leader of the Council, came out and surprisingly candidly told us, ‘You’re gonna get houses’, before shouting it at us again.”
But Coun Hussain has since accused the Conservatives of “the worst type of immature politics”.
He said: “We have a need for 42,000 houses in the district – that’s what our strategy has come back with. I said we need houses and we are going to get houses. I didn’t pre-empt anything.”
He said more housing, especially affordable housing, was badly needed.
He added: “This is even going below what we would normally expect from the Conservatives.”
Councillor Val Slater, executive member for planning, said of the Conservatives’ argument: “It just got a bit petty, if you ask me.”
Despite voting against the plan, the Conservatives added in 16 amendments, which highlighted the importance of developing high speed broadband in rural areas and improving public transport links and highways.
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