A COUNCIL chief has repeated his warning that Huddersfield’s green fields are under threat.
Kirklees leader Clr Robert Light fears new Government house building targets for the area will decimate the Green Belt.
He said that over the next 20 years the Government had set targets which would force the council to allow nearly 1,600 new houses a year to be built, compared with its original demands of under 1,300.
Clr Light said it averaged 1,500 new houses in each of the 23 council wards over the next two decades.
He added: “The new Government target of nearly 35,000 new houses over that 20-year period is a 23% increase on its original target, which itself was excessively high.
“With such huge increases in targets being forced on us protecting the Green Belt from extensive development is going to be extremely difficult, if not impossible.”
Clr Light said there would be no alternative but to allow significant erosion of the Green Belt.
He said that meeting housing needs, and land allocation for the homes, should be a local issue for decision by councillors.
“It is dictatorial in the extreme for arbitrary targets to be forced on councils, which then suffer the backlash from local communities over decisions forced upon them by the Government,” he said.
Clr Light said Kirklees had until December 21 to make its comments.
He said: “We will be preparing a robust and detailed response and hope we will get the support across the council, across the community, and from our local MPs to protect the Green Belt from decimation.”
Countryside campaigners have expressed dismay at plans for a massive increase in housing in the region.
The Campaign for the Protection of Rural England said targets for the number of new homes to be built in Yorkshire had been thrown out by the Government, which has announced plans for housebuilding on a massive scale to meet Gordon Brown’s pledge for 3m new homes in England by 2020.
From next year Yorkshire and Humberside must find space for 22,140 new homes each year. This will mean nearly 500,000 new homes within the next 20 years. This is almost twice the figure proposed by the regional assembly.
A CPRE spokeswoman said: ‘This would be an exorbitant price to pay for meeting the Government’s housing requirements.
“ They say they want brownfield sites used first and have recently reaffirmed support for the Green Belt.
“But if the rise in housing numbers is pushed through these objectives will be fatally undermined, giving way to another wave of urban sprawl, long-distance commuting and congestion – the very last thing Yorkshire and Humberside needs.”