'We don't need to build on green land' says housing minister Hopkins

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Keighley MP Kris Hopkins Keighley MP Kris Hopkins

New Housing Minister Kris Hopkins today denies Bradford has a homes crisis – and accuses Council chiefs of failing to exploit the “huge amount of land on offer”.

In an interview to mark three months as a minister, the Keighley MP rejected the “crisis” word used by the National Housing Federation to describe Bradford’s plight.

Instead, Mr Hopkins – while admitting to a “challenge” – called for a redoubling of efforts to provide the extra thousands of new homes the district needs.

But he also vowed he would be “pushing back” to protect green fields in his own constituency, despite David Cameron’s orders to hit housebuilding targets.

Mr Hopkins said the extra homes could be found by: l Looking to Bradford’s canal area – saying: “There is a great opportunity for 20,000 houses. I’d like to see that project expand and accelerate.”

l Bringing empty homes – which were particularly common in areas with large Asian populations – back into use l Identifying and selling off local Council-owned land – allowing the authority to tap into extra Government funds.

Mr Hopkins said: “The word crisis has been rolled out time and time again. I think there’s a challenge that needs to be addressed.

“I think the Council is facing up to it in its local plan, but Bradford itself is not short of land – particularly around the canal area.

“When I look back to the stock transfer, there was a huge amount of land retained by the Council on our old housing estates. We need to utilise some of that.

“It’s not just about building new houses, but about getting empty houses back into use as well. If we can do that, we can really make a difference.

“Lots of grandparents and parents went out and bought homes, particularly in Kashmiri and Pakistani communities, and we need to make sure those empty houses are brought back in.”

Growing pressure to build more homes has sparked fears that the district’s green and beautiful spaces will be concreted over – but Mr Hopkins insisted that was unnecessary.

Indeed, he vowed to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with residents in the Wharfe Valley against what he described as “outrageous” housebuilding targets.

The minister said: “The challenge is in the centre. The housing population boom is not in Keighley and Ilkley – it’s in the centre of Bradford.

“Taking my ministerial hat off and putting my MP’s hat on, some of the figures they’ve talked about across Keighley and Shipley are outrageous.

“I’m sure Philip Davies would say the same and we will certainly be pushing back on those.

“There’s one road running through the centre of the Wharfe Valley and it couldn’t cope. Look at Addingham, where I think 5,000 houses was suggested, a ridiculous number.

“It is an easier process for the Council to look around its green fields – the leafy bits of the district.

“It needs to go back into the centre and ask, ‘Where are the brownfield sites?’ ‘How can we bring the empty homes back into use?’ ”

Fears of a Bradford housing crisis were stoked late last year, when the National Housing Federation warned “prices were spiralling out of the reach of people”.

The average house price is £142,000, yet average annual earnings are £18,500. Meanwhile, more than 20,000 people are stuck on a waiting list for social housing.

Labour-run Bradford Council has acknowledged the district needs an extra 42,000 homes by 2030, which involves building more than 2,000 each year, but only about 900 are built, of which only a small proportion are “affordable”.

The report came out around the same time as official figures revealed the number of affordable homes built across the country had plummeted by 26 per cent.

But Mr Hopkins insisted: “The Prime Minister has asked me to go out and deliver our housing commitment. That’s 170,000 affordable houses – to build them all by 2015.

“We’ve built nearly 100,000 already, so – with 16 months to go to the election – we are slightly ahead of target.”

Comments (22)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

7:04am Tue 14 Jan 14

Albion. says...

In an ideal world that might work Mr Hopkins, but it isn't, and it won't.
In an ideal world that might work Mr Hopkins, but it isn't, and it won't. Albion.

10:28am Tue 14 Jan 14

Elizabeth Mitchell says...

The Minister is right to suggest we look at current stock first. A quick look on Rightmove or Zoopla shows there are thousands of homes for sale within the area below the average house price.
I realise the majority of those selling will be moving up or down the 'ladder' but the council needs to consider what percentage could be considered housing 'stock'. Who knows, this might ease the 2000 per year that we are told is needed.
A similar scan of the above on line companies for rented homes in the area again reveals 1000s
Our Victorian sewers are stretched to the limit, as are the roads, so Mr Hopkins is right to consider all options..
The Minister is right to suggest we look at current stock first. A quick look on Rightmove or Zoopla shows there are thousands of homes for sale within the area below the average house price. I realise the majority of those selling will be moving up or down the 'ladder' but the council needs to consider what percentage could be considered housing 'stock'. Who knows, this might ease the 2000 per year that we are told is needed. A similar scan of the above on line companies for rented homes in the area again reveals 1000s Our Victorian sewers are stretched to the limit, as are the roads, so Mr Hopkins is right to consider all options.. Elizabeth Mitchell

10:44am Tue 14 Jan 14

BaildonGuy says...

Mr. Hopkins is perfectly right, there are more than enough brownfields and empty homes to meet Bradford's housing target, -- if only that number hadn't been ludicrously inflated by a City Hall keen to generate as much council tax income as possible.

However the issue, as Mr. Hopkins well knows, is not the availability of brownfield, but greedy builders who wish to maximise their profit by building only on greenfields. Nothing will change until this is tackled; which means the Tories have to ignore the cash sweetened lobbying by the building industry and City Hall has to develop a backbone. I'm not sure which is the more unlikely.
Mr. Hopkins is perfectly right, there are more than enough brownfields and empty homes to meet Bradford's housing target, -- if only that number hadn't been ludicrously inflated by a City Hall keen to generate as much council tax income as possible. However the issue, as Mr. Hopkins well knows, is not the availability of brownfield, but greedy builders who wish to maximise their profit by building only on greenfields. Nothing will change until this is tackled; which means the Tories have to ignore the cash sweetened lobbying by the building industry and City Hall has to develop a backbone. I'm not sure which is the more unlikely. BaildonGuy

11:06am Tue 14 Jan 14

Albion. says...

Presumably those who agree with him, also agree with his proposals to build 20,000 homes on Canal Road? If all the empty dwelling were forcibly brought into use, it MIGHT address the problem for a very short while. But you always will have empty properties, it would be impossible not to, unless of course we become a dictatorial society!
Presumably those who agree with him, also agree with his proposals to build 20,000 homes on Canal Road? If all the empty dwelling were forcibly brought into use, it MIGHT address the problem for a very short while. But you always will have empty properties, it would be impossible not to, unless of course we become a dictatorial society! Albion.

11:38am Tue 14 Jan 14

menstonian says...

Thank goodness for some common sense from a Government Minister! It's time Bradford Council was challenged to justify the figure of 42,000 homes - which was provided by property developers GVA Grimley, and they've a vested interest in seeing land given over to housing - and stopped trying to dump their housing requirements onto greenfield land. There is plenty of brownfield land in Bradford District, and reportedly over 14,000 empty homes needing refurbishment or simply re-letting. Let's hope Kris Hopkins can help the Planning Minister, Nick Boles, gain a proper understanding of value of our green environment (wherever it is).
Thank goodness for some common sense from a Government Minister! It's time Bradford Council was challenged to justify the figure of 42,000 homes - which was provided by property developers GVA Grimley, and they've a vested interest in seeing land given over to housing - and stopped trying to dump their housing requirements onto greenfield land. There is plenty of brownfield land in Bradford District, and reportedly over 14,000 empty homes needing refurbishment or simply re-letting. Let's hope Kris Hopkins can help the Planning Minister, Nick Boles, gain a proper understanding of value of our green environment (wherever it is). menstonian

12:11pm Tue 14 Jan 14

Joedavid says...

Is it that people do not want to live in these areas thus no one wishes to build on them?
What ever the answer it needs to be settled quick as more homes are needed year by year.
Is it that people do not want to live in these areas thus no one wishes to build on them? What ever the answer it needs to be settled quick as more homes are needed year by year. Joedavid

1:30pm Tue 14 Jan 14

basil fawlty says...

Hopkins = NIMBY
Hopkins = NIMBY basil fawlty

1:31pm Tue 14 Jan 14

Madam meow says...

There are houses that only need doing up, they are better than the new built boxes that they are doing now. Brownfield sites need using up long before green belt. This councillor is the only one talking sense about this subject.
There are houses that only need doing up, they are better than the new built boxes that they are doing now. Brownfield sites need using up long before green belt. This councillor is the only one talking sense about this subject. Madam meow

1:46pm Tue 14 Jan 14

Albion. says...

Madam meow wrote:
There are houses that only need doing up, they are better than the new built boxes that they are doing now. Brownfield sites need using up long before green belt. This councillor is the only one talking sense about this subject.
Except that he's an MP.
[quote][p][bold]Madam meow[/bold] wrote: There are houses that only need doing up, they are better than the new built boxes that they are doing now. Brownfield sites need using up long before green belt. This councillor is the only one talking sense about this subject.[/p][/quote]Except that he's an MP. Albion.

4:16pm Tue 14 Jan 14

tinytoonster says...

Albion. wrote:
Madam meow wrote:
There are houses that only need doing up, they are better than the new built boxes that they are doing now. Brownfield sites need using up long before green belt. This councillor is the only one talking sense about this subject.
Except that he's an MP.
and its a stupid comment like that which makes you understand how labour can be in control.
you believe everything they tell you but when someone gives an intelligent reason to not destroy you come out with the fall back answer, he's an mp!
labour just want this country destroyed.
they opened the floodgates and now we cant close them.
[quote][p][bold]Albion.[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Madam meow[/bold] wrote: There are houses that only need doing up, they are better than the new built boxes that they are doing now. Brownfield sites need using up long before green belt. This councillor is the only one talking sense about this subject.[/p][/quote]Except that he's an MP.[/p][/quote]and its a stupid comment like that which makes you understand how labour can be in control. you believe everything they tell you but when someone gives an intelligent reason to not destroy you come out with the fall back answer, he's an mp! labour just want this country destroyed. they opened the floodgates and now we cant close them. tinytoonster

4:20pm Tue 14 Jan 14

Apollo says...

Good - then stop the ridiculous development in Queensbury at Harrowins Farm right now.

Kill it straight away before more green land is lost. More importantly additional strain is put on the already creaking infrastructure of the village - full school, clogged roads, doctors you can only be ill by appointment at etc.
Good - then stop the ridiculous development in Queensbury at Harrowins Farm right now. Kill it straight away before more green land is lost. More importantly additional strain is put on the already creaking infrastructure of the village - full school, clogged roads, doctors you can only be ill by appointment at etc. Apollo

4:30pm Tue 14 Jan 14

Albion. says...

tinytoonster wrote:
Albion. wrote:
Madam meow wrote:
There are houses that only need doing up, they are better than the new built boxes that they are doing now. Brownfield sites need using up long before green belt. This councillor is the only one talking sense about this subject.
Except that he's an MP.
and its a stupid comment like that which makes you understand how labour can be in control.
you believe everything they tell you but when someone gives an intelligent reason to not destroy you come out with the fall back answer, he's an mp!
labour just want this country destroyed.
they opened the floodgates and now we cant close them.
Sorry I don't understand what you're on about. Either he IS an MP or he isn't.
By the way, I don't vote Labour and would be more than happy if they weren't in control in Bradford.
[quote][p][bold]tinytoonster[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Albion.[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Madam meow[/bold] wrote: There are houses that only need doing up, they are better than the new built boxes that they are doing now. Brownfield sites need using up long before green belt. This councillor is the only one talking sense about this subject.[/p][/quote]Except that he's an MP.[/p][/quote]and its a stupid comment like that which makes you understand how labour can be in control. you believe everything they tell you but when someone gives an intelligent reason to not destroy you come out with the fall back answer, he's an mp! labour just want this country destroyed. they opened the floodgates and now we cant close them.[/p][/quote]Sorry I don't understand what you're on about. Either he IS an MP or he isn't. By the way, I don't vote Labour and would be more than happy if they weren't in control in Bradford. Albion.

5:37pm Tue 14 Jan 14

awasteoftime says...

It is no good just talking tough he is part of the Govt. that is encouraging developers to build on Green Belt and when applications are refused they allowed on appeal by Govt Inspectors. He needs to tell Cameron to change the rules so that Local Residents have more say without the need to spend lots of money defending their green belt.
The housing shortage can never be solved if we keep allowing more and more people into what is a small overcrowded island. Houses are not be demolished so it can only be a population increase that generates the need for more of them, shut the borders now!!.
It is no good just talking tough he is part of the Govt. that is encouraging developers to build on Green Belt and when applications are refused they allowed on appeal by Govt Inspectors. He needs to tell Cameron to change the rules so that Local Residents have more say without the need to spend lots of money defending their green belt. The housing shortage can never be solved if we keep allowing more and more people into what is a small overcrowded island. Houses are not be demolished so it can only be a population increase that generates the need for more of them, shut the borders now!!. awasteoftime

6:20pm Tue 14 Jan 14

bd7 helper says...

Just another idea
Just another idea bd7 helper

6:45pm Tue 14 Jan 14

tinytoonster says...

Albion. wrote:
tinytoonster wrote:
Albion. wrote:
Madam meow wrote:
There are houses that only need doing up, they are better than the new built boxes that they are doing now. Brownfield sites need using up long before green belt. This councillor is the only one talking sense about this subject.
Except that he's an MP.
and its a stupid comment like that which makes you understand how labour can be in control.
you believe everything they tell you but when someone gives an intelligent reason to not destroy you come out with the fall back answer, he's an mp!
labour just want this country destroyed.
they opened the floodgates and now we cant close them.
Sorry I don't understand what you're on about. Either he IS an MP or he isn't.
By the way, I don't vote Labour and would be more than happy if they weren't in control in Bradford.
ok sorry.
your comment made it sound like it cannot be intelligent because he is an mp.
my mistake i guess..
[quote][p][bold]Albion.[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]tinytoonster[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Albion.[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Madam meow[/bold] wrote: There are houses that only need doing up, they are better than the new built boxes that they are doing now. Brownfield sites need using up long before green belt. This councillor is the only one talking sense about this subject.[/p][/quote]Except that he's an MP.[/p][/quote]and its a stupid comment like that which makes you understand how labour can be in control. you believe everything they tell you but when someone gives an intelligent reason to not destroy you come out with the fall back answer, he's an mp! labour just want this country destroyed. they opened the floodgates and now we cant close them.[/p][/quote]Sorry I don't understand what you're on about. Either he IS an MP or he isn't. By the way, I don't vote Labour and would be more than happy if they weren't in control in Bradford.[/p][/quote]ok sorry. your comment made it sound like it cannot be intelligent because he is an mp. my mistake i guess.. tinytoonster

6:46pm Tue 14 Jan 14

tinytoonster says...

bd7 helper wrote:
Just another idea
be quiet.......
stop lyyying.....
[quote][p][bold]bd7 helper[/bold] wrote: Just another idea[/p][/quote]be quiet....... stop lyyying..... tinytoonster

7:45pm Tue 14 Jan 14

alive and awake says...

I agree brown field sites first, and there are plenty of them, some of the largest being ,ex. Grattan site and Fields printers for a start. As for Canal Road, as he ever been down there and had a look?
I agree brown field sites first, and there are plenty of them, some of the largest being ,ex. Grattan site and Fields printers for a start. As for Canal Road, as he ever been down there and had a look? alive and awake

8:35pm Tue 14 Jan 14

localydocaly says...

why dosnt the l/a build council houses on the brown field sites,close to employment,what there is of it.
why dosnt the l/a build council houses on the brown field sites,close to employment,what there is of it. localydocaly

9:20pm Tue 14 Jan 14

Victor Clayton says...

The area of rising population is in the center. so why build on the outskirts? On the face of it, his comments make sense. however, this is Bradford and the rising population in the center are more likely to be taking out of the pot than putting in. So IMO what it is all about is balancing the books. keeping our middle class and trying to attract more. and building on canal road or refurbishing houses on canterbury etc just wont acheive this. people with a few quid wont live there. but Menston, Addingham, Baildon, Ilkley..........
The area of rising population is in the center. so why build on the outskirts? On the face of it, his comments make sense. however, this is Bradford and the rising population in the center are more likely to be taking out of the pot than putting in. So IMO what it is all about is balancing the books. keeping our middle class and trying to attract more. and building on canal road or refurbishing houses on canterbury etc just wont acheive this. people with a few quid wont live there. but Menston, Addingham, Baildon, Ilkley.......... Victor Clayton

9:58pm Tue 14 Jan 14

Jackie Thompson says...

JoeDavid said:

'Is it that people do not want to live in these areas thus no one wishes to build on them?
What ever the answer it needs to be settled quick as more homes are needed year by year'

Joe - the problem is that most of the people in Bradford who need houses can't afford to buy them.

The developers aren't interested in building houses for these people. They want to maximise profits by building houses in the greenbelt and selling them to people who have a lot of money.

InCommunities knocked down some social rented housing they owned in Ilkley. The developers are selling houses on the site for prices that start at £214K for the cheapest and pokiest.

Building in the greenbelt is not about providing affordable housing for the poor it's about maximising profits.

And yes - most people given a choice would prefer to live in Ilkley than in Canal Road but what's being offered to most Bradford residents who need housing is no housing for them and greenbelt housing for the well off incomers who can pay for it. It stinks!
JoeDavid said: 'Is it that people do not want to live in these areas thus no one wishes to build on them? What ever the answer it needs to be settled quick as more homes are needed year by year' Joe - the problem is that most of the people in Bradford who need houses can't afford to buy them. The developers aren't interested in building houses for these people. They want to maximise profits by building houses in the greenbelt and selling them to people who have a lot of money. InCommunities knocked down some social rented housing they owned in Ilkley. The developers are selling houses on the site for prices that start at £214K for the cheapest and pokiest. Building in the greenbelt is not about providing affordable housing for the poor it's about maximising profits. And yes - most people given a choice would prefer to live in Ilkley than in Canal Road but what's being offered to most Bradford residents who need housing is no housing for them and greenbelt housing for the well off incomers who can pay for it. It stinks! Jackie Thompson

4:08am Wed 15 Jan 14

justjustice says...

Until the governments bring in a new law in which all new housing can only be bought by first time buyers, all we'll see are the already rich landlords buying and letting these new home out instead.

Not only that these new buyers must also sign a contract in which they agree that is they themselves who will be living in the property, and must live in that property for a minimum of 5-10 years. As well as agreeing not to let it out either.

It is clear that we have learnt nothing from the recession, and the media claiming that house prices are increasing again is a good thing and a sign of recovery is ludicrous! That is what got us into this recession in the first place! House prices need to fall to more affordable levels and priority given to first time buyers!

If things continue as they are many people will not buy their first house until they retire!
Until the governments bring in a new law in which all new housing can only be bought by first time buyers, all we'll see are the already rich landlords buying and letting these new home out instead. Not only that these new buyers must also sign a contract in which they agree that is they themselves who will be living in the property, and must live in that property for a minimum of 5-10 years. As well as agreeing not to let it out either. It is clear that we have learnt nothing from the recession, and the media claiming that house prices are increasing again is a good thing and a sign of recovery is ludicrous! That is what got us into this recession in the first place! House prices need to fall to more affordable levels and priority given to first time buyers! If things continue as they are many people will not buy their first house until they retire! justjustice

5:49pm Sat 18 Jan 14

pjl20 says...

Albion. wrote:
Presumably those who agree with him, also agree with his proposals to build 20,000 homes on Canal Road? If all the empty dwelling were forcibly brought into use, it MIGHT address the problem for a very short while. But you always will have empty properties, it would be impossible not to, unless of course we become a dictatorial society!
Albion. For example. Are you even aware of the scheme Leeds City Council has within it's district of acquiring run down and uninhabitable property from private landlords, at market price, less the cost of refurbishment? This property is then returned to the housing stock, when finished, in Leeds for rental, or sold on the open market.

Why not for Bradford MDC?

Kris Hopkins MP, as the new Housing Minister at the DCLG can be criticised for the overall policy in the country, if you feel it to be justified, but not within this locality. That primarily is the responsibility of Bradford MDC and the planning applications also considered by Keighley Town Council.

We do need more brand new homes as (1) For social housings, and (2) for first-time buyer, who are now aged almost 40, not the mid-20s that it used to be.

I criticise Kris Hopkins for (a) not having an adequate target for new homes. This should be at least 232,000 per annum, according to our own UKIP policy and (b) Has the government 'Help to Buy' scheme helped those in this Y & NL Region, and in West Yorkshire and Keighley in particular, to get up onto the house owners ladder?

Answers? (a) The target is is too low, as Mr Hopkins own figures show above and (b) The national figures do not allow house construction under the 'Help to Buy' scheme, to be analysed by constituency area. This has been admitted in a House of Commons written reply by Mr Hopkins, as reported by the KN several weeks ago in my published letter.

New house building with help revive the British economy more than any other and help reduce property price inflation, especially down south where prices are rising. Increase the housing supply and ease the housing shortage.
[quote][p][bold]Albion.[/bold] wrote: Presumably those who agree with him, also agree with his proposals to build 20,000 homes on Canal Road? If all the empty dwelling were forcibly brought into use, it MIGHT address the problem for a very short while. But you always will have empty properties, it would be impossible not to, unless of course we become a dictatorial society![/p][/quote]Albion. For example. Are you even aware of the scheme Leeds City Council has within it's district of acquiring run down and uninhabitable property from private landlords, at market price, less the cost of refurbishment? This property is then returned to the housing stock, when finished, in Leeds for rental, or sold on the open market. Why not for Bradford MDC? Kris Hopkins MP, as the new Housing Minister at the DCLG can be criticised for the overall policy in the country, if you feel it to be justified, but not within this locality. That primarily is the responsibility of Bradford MDC and the planning applications also considered by Keighley Town Council. We do need more brand new homes as (1) For social housings, and (2) for first-time buyer, who are now aged almost 40, not the mid-20s that it used to be. I criticise Kris Hopkins for (a) not having an adequate target for new homes. This should be at least 232,000 per annum, according to our own UKIP policy and (b) Has the government 'Help to Buy' scheme helped those in this Y & NL Region, and in West Yorkshire and Keighley in particular, to get up onto the house owners ladder? Answers? (a) The target is is too low, as Mr Hopkins own figures show above and (b) The national figures do not allow house construction under the 'Help to Buy' scheme, to be analysed by constituency area. This has been admitted in a House of Commons written reply by Mr Hopkins, as reported by the KN several weeks ago in my published letter. New house building with help revive the British economy more than any other and help reduce property price inflation, especially down south where prices are rising. Increase the housing supply and ease the housing shortage. pjl20

Comments are closed on this article.

click2find

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree