Council chief hits back at Hopkins over house building

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Coun Val Slater Coun Val Slater

Bradford’s housing chief has criticised Kris Hopkins’ comments, calling the idea of building 20,000 homes in the Canal Road corridor “ludicrous.”

Councillor Val Slater, Bradford Council’s executive member for housing, planning and transport, responded angrily to the Housing Minister’s suggestions and urged him to work more constructively with the local authority instead of just “throwing stones” at them.

Coun Slater said: “This idea of building 20,000 homes on Canal Road is absolutely ludicrous.

“I wonder if he has spoken to [Shipley MP] Philip Davies about this. I have real concerns about the impact that would have on the transport infrastructure in that area.”

She said quibbling about whether there was a housing ‘crisis’ or ‘challenge’ was “a childish use of semantics”.

Coun Slater called on Mr Hopkins to use his Government role to help solve housing problems such as landbanking and stalled developments, rather than just “sniping” at Bradford Council.

She said: “There are a number of issues we could work constructively together on, especially as he is now in a position to influence things that stand in the way of progress, such as how do we actually make developers build on brownfield sites, how do we get the stalled building in Bradford to happen? There are I think around 18,000 to 19,000 outstanding permissions.

“All these things we need his help on because they can only be sorted out nationally.”

Coun Slater said she too wanted to protect green fields, and that 94 per cent of homes were now built on brownfield land.

But she said the house-building figures Mr Hopkins described as “outrageous” were actually Government targets.


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