Bradford could have to cope with thousands of new homes on top of the 50,000 that the Government has already said the district must build after Westminster announced it was moving the goalposts on increased housing.

A blueprint for regional development is being revised by the Government to take account of the latest population growth projections.

The Regional Spatial Strategy already calls for 50,000 new homes in the district by 2026, which the Council already believes is too much for the district.

New figures could see an increase regionally by up to 35 per cent – with Bradford predicted to be hit with extra homes.

Authorities are now being consulted on the changes, which could see the current strategy figure of 22,260 new homes a year in Yorkshire and Humber, leap to 30,000 a year.

It is proposed that some of the housing originally planned for North Yorkshire and the Humber region will now be built in West Yorkshire and South Yorkshire due to environmental pressures in North Yorkshire and a declining demand for housing in the Humber area. Councillor Anne Hawkesworth, Bradford Council’s executive member for environment and culture, said: “We had concerns about the original allocations for the district, particularly in terms of congestion and pressure on greenfield sites.

“The Government needs to understand the impact this will have on an ageing and already-stretched infrastructure and the need for massive investment to achieve even 50,000 dwellings.

“The new proposals mean we could take on even more housing allocations from elsewhere in the region, and we are asking the Government to think again about what this will mean for the district.

“We have done a considerable amount of work preparing for 50,000 extra homes and these new proposals mean we will have to effectively start again.”

The Council is also objecting to one of the options designed to accommodate the extra growth, which would focus on larger settlements such as Bradford, resulting in substantial expansion into the greenbelt.

Coun Hawkesworth’s team are suggesting that their policy of concentrating development on brownfield – or previously developed land – should be adopted. In the last two years more than 80 per cent of new housing in the district has been on such brownfield land.

In May last year the revised spatial strategy was revealed, which recognised Bradford as a key city in its own right.

It follows pressure from the Council for the district to be given greater recognition. They feared Bradford had been undervalued in the draft document and was being seen as subservient to Leeds. But the revised strategy shows that future growth and development will now be focused around four so-called “regional cities” – Leeds, Hull, Sheffield and Bradford.

The number of homes expected in the plan has already jumped. The original draft version said 31,420 homes should be built over the following 15 years.

But an amendment in September 2007 increased the number to 54,840 over 20 years. About 4,000 properties have been completed, leaving the Council needing to find space for 50,000 homes by 2026. It also nearly doubles the yearly target from 1,390 to 2,700.

There have also been concerns that Bradford’s green belt could be used to ease the growing housing crisis.

The Council’s response to the latest changes will be discussed by the executive which meets on Tuesday at 2pm at City Hall.

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