BRADFORD needs more homes – but it doesn’t need more homes on green field land.

We know that Bradford is the youngest city in the UK. Nearly one-in-four Bradfordians are under 16. If we don’t create more affordable housing the brightest and best of them will simply leave to continue their careers elsewhere.

But changes to national planning policy mean that thousands of new homes may not now be built.

A report to Bradford Council says that the changes mean the city’s target of building 2,476 new homes per year could be reduced to just 1,663.

The upside is that some green field developments may not now go ahead.

And it’s not as if the city doesn’t have plenty of alternatives.

According to official figures, Bradford has one of the highest proportions of empty homes outside London, beaten only by Birmingham. At today’s prices the value of property lying idle is worth more than £800m.

There are plenty of empty buildings in the city centre that would make excellent flat conversions, too.

Re-purposing old offices and shops for first-time buyers makes sense. We should be encouraging more people to live in the centre rather than making them commute into work from outlying areas with the consequent detrimental impact on air quality and traffic congestion.

If this change to Government policy encourages planners to make more of what they already have then perhaps it is not such a bad thing after all.