BRADFORD Council has been rapped following a report into development of green belt by the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE).

The CPRE says the public is being "sold a lie" by developers keen to "gobble up" protected green belt land to build homes that will be unaffordable to those most in need of them, adding that plans to build thousands of homes on Bradford's green belt will do nothing to help ease the affordable housing crisis.

The group has reviewed local plans from across England for its annual 'State of the Green Belt' report.

In Bradford, the CPRE has identified plans to build 11,000 homes on green belt land as part of the wider Yorkshire Green Belt, across which 46,210 homes are expected to be built.

However, the campaigners say that there are enough brownfield sites in Bradford to build a minimum of 11,465 homes and at least 6,537 of these brownfield homes could be built within the next five years.

Tom Fyans, director of campaigns and policy at CPRE, says green belt land is being "eroded at an alarming rate" across the country.

And he adds if local affordable housing targets are applied to green belt developments in Bradford, only 20 per cent would meet the Government's definition of affordable.

Matt Edwards, spokesman for Bradford District Green Party added: "The Green Party has consistently said that Bradford’s Labour group has got its housing policy wrong and that the amount of green belt land being earmarked for housing is totally unsustainable and dangerous.

“Our inner city is crying out for development whilst communities like Micklethwaite, Bierley and Tong are all seeing estates of executive housing earmarked for their green spaces.

“We saw a very real example of this failure last month, when it was revealed that that the Council announced that it wanted to use the Richard Dunn Site to build a retail park when it would be perfect for affordable housing.

Shipley MP Philip Davies added: "I completely agree with the CPRE. Building on the greenbelt in places like Wharfedale damages our local environment and does nothing to alleviate the housing need which is primarily in the city centre, and also does nothing to regenerate the city centre economy. CPRE are right that there are plenty of brownfield sites to cope with Bradford’s housing needs and I hope Bradford Council will heed this advice”

Coun Alex Ross-Shaw, Bradford Council’s Executive Member for Regeneration, Planning and Transport said: “In Bradford we have a growing economy and the youngest population in the UK with nearly 25 per cent of the population under the age of 16. We have to plan for sustainable building to accommodate that growth. There is no target for how many houses should be built on greenbelt. Our local plan prioritises brownfield development and was drawn up within strict Government guidelines and it was approved by the government’s own inspector. The two Green councillors in Bradford are well aware that unlocking brownfield sites is a big challenge. This is an issue not just in Bradford but across the North where low land values can make redevelopment of brownfield sites unviable. Even if all the brownfield sites in Bradford were built on this still wouldn’t be enough to meet the housing numbers that have been agreed with Government. Meanwhile the Government’s stance on planning is a constantly moving feast. We are looking at their new directives to make sure that we meet the changing criteria. We are still only part of the way through the process. This wasn’t helped by Government delaying our plan by nine months last year without making a single change to it. Our plan has at its core the principle of encouraging the right development in the right places while protecting at least 98 per cent of the greenbelt to meet the demands for housing and jobs for the next generation.”