GREEN Belt campaigners will call on Bradford Council to halt its plans for 42,100 new homes in the district, as the Government reviews how housing targets are set.

The nationwide review - currently out for consultation - could see Bradford’s housing targets slashed by a third, which campaigners say would save precious Green Belt land from being lost to development.

But Bradford Council had already approved its long-term planning blueprint this summer, which included releasing enough Green Belt land for around 11,000 new homes by 2030, and was beginning the process of allocating land.

Now the Tong and Fulneck Valley Association will use a Full Council meeting on October 17 to ask planning chiefs to halt this process and await the outcome of the Government review.

Chairman Gordon Dey said the proposed change could be a crucial lifeline for under-threat Green Belt land in Bradford’s Tong Valley.

He said: “Our question makes it clear that in our view, the Council have got to wait until this consultation is over.”

Meanwhile, the district’s Green Party has called on the Council to use the recalculation of the numbers “as an opportunity to completely rethink the city’s urban policy”.

Matt Edwards, Bradford Green Party spokesman, said: “We need to explore new ways to promote investment on brownfield sites.”

The Government consultation spells out plans to bring back a national formula for setting housing targets.

The formula put forward would see housebuilding in many northern areas cut dramatically, but increased in many parts of the south-east.

If approved, it could be in place by as early as next spring.

But planning chiefs have poured water on the idea of halting Bradford’s Local Plan in the meantime.

The Council’s assistant director for planning, Julian Jackson, said: “We are looking at the Government’s proposals but they have made it clear that councils can proceed with their Local Plans if they were recently adopted.

“The Government wants to ensure there is no unnecessary delay in progressing Local Plans and we don’t want to delay implementing our Local Plan either as it is critical that we deliver new homes and maximise opportunities to use brownfield sites for regeneration.”

The district’s MPs are divided on news the housing targets could be slashed.

Keighley’s Labour MP John Grogan and Shipley’s Conservative MP Philip Davies have joined forces across the political divide to protect Green Belt land in their constituencies.

Both MPs yesterday said they welcomed the Government consultation, although Mr Grogan said he would have liked to see local authorities given more powers to specify the types of housing needed in different areas.

Mr Grogan said although Bradford Council had already approved its plan, it would have to take account of any national changes when the time came for a review.

He said: “I think there would be lots of pressure in the Bradford district then for an early review, if that happens, because these figures would be quite substantially down on what was passed.”

Mr Davies said: “I very much welcome this, because it is basically going to deliver a much more realistic set of housing targets. It will mean there’s actually no need at all to concrete over the Green Belt in my constituency.”

But Labour’s Bradford West MP Naz Shah took a different view, saying slashing the target during a housing crisis would defy common sense.

She said: “The consultation the Government has announced focuses on how local authorities calculate housing need. That’s like trying to fatten an animal by meddling with the weighing scales.

“The housing crisis is not caused by local authorities misunderstanding how many houses are needed, it’s about a chronic lack of investment and desire from Government to build more.

“Perversely, the Government’s proposed framework actually calculates Bradford’s housing need to be less than the Council’s own existing figure, defying both common sense and the lived experience of thousands of my constituents.

“I will continue to fight for them and the election of a Labour Government that will deliver the affordable homes they so desperately need.”

Labour’s Bradford East MP Imran Hussain said Bradford needed “a better supply of both social housing and genuinely affordable homes”, but said they needed to be properly connected to infrastructure and should not place undue pressure on services.