The words Councillor Val Slater used to defend Bradford Council’s planning policy on housing at a meeting of the Bradford Property Forum were, at best, ill-chosen and, at worst, downright inflammatory.

The comment she makes that objectors to plans for 2,700 homes partly on green belt land in Holme Wood were ‘middle class’ draws up imaginary battle lines in a class struggle that simply does not exist. Many of the hundreds of people who opposed that particular scheme would certainly not categorise themselves that way.

This is not a conflict of the chattering classes against the working classes, as Coun Slater seems to be portraying it. Although it’s hard not to wonder how many supposedly “middle class” developers would be at the barricades if incursions into the green belt were set to be in their own backyards?

This resistance to bricking over the countryside is borne out of an honest and strongly-held desire of many in Bradford to protect cherished green spaces from being lost forever under houses – houses that are part of an overall target figure of 45,500 new homes in the district for which the justification remains unconvincing. Where Coun Slater does have it right is in how she will be perceived if the Council continues to ride roughshod over people’s objections to the ongoing development of our green spaces.

She says she fully expects to be seen as “the Devil’s disciple” in the eyes of objectors to housing plans. She is certainly not going to be popular, and it is to her credit that she recognises this and is prepared to stand by her belief that the demand for these homes should be met in the district.

The concern now has to be that Coun Slater turns her expectations of vilification into a kind of bunker mentality which will see her and the Council become impervious to the views of all those who wish to protect our green spaces on the grounds that they are all middle-class NIMBYS.

If this is an indication that the Council has decided that the 45,500 homes requirement set out in the now out-dated regional spatial strategy has some mythological un-challengeable status then we all must fear that the plan will be to drive through the Local Development Framework at any cost. And then it won’t just be Coun Slater who will be on her way to Hell.....