Build on plots that do have permission

First published in Our View
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For a long time the Telegraph & Argus has been running a campaign to highlight the growing problem of house developers increasingly trying to build on the district’s green spaces.

Although home to more than 500,000 people and as such has several densely populated urban areas, the Bradford district is also a place of wonderful countryside which needs to be safeguarded.

There is, of course, a housing shortage in Bradford, as in many other places, and the Telegraph & Argus is by no means against progress and the creation of new homes for our growing population.

But we have always argued that the fields, the green belt and open spaces should not be the first choice for developers, but rather the builders should seek to revitalise and regenerate existing post-industrial, or brownfield, sites that are prevalent throughout the area.

The latest news that planning permission has been granted for more than 11,000 homes in the district comes as something of a surprise, then. Why do developers keep hammering away at the green spaces when sites across Bradford are primed, in planning terms, for construction to begin?

One reason, of course, is that the economic downturn has meant that building has slowed and developers are waiting until they have more funds before continuing. But there is also the problem of “land banking”, with companies snapping up cheap land and waiting until house prices pick up before beginning work.

With so many people waiting for housing and the threat to our green spaces increasing, the answer seems simple: do everything to encourage developers to build on the land they do have permission for before granting any further planning application, especially on green spaces.

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