My Column in the Morley Observer & Advertiser

“We need to build more affordable homes.” That was one of the clear messages I’ve had over the last fortnight from Drighlington residents.  I’ve been particularly struck by the level of concern people have for young people and families trying to get on the housing ladder.

Their concerns echo my mailbag and casework across the constituency. People aren’t against new homes, but they do want affordable homes, built in the right place so we can protect our communities and valuable greenbelt land. I totally agree. One couple approaching retirement, along with a number of others, lamented the lack of retirement properties. Others mentioned the lack of affordable housing locally, to buy or rent for younger families starting out in life.

It’s a frustrating issue. One woman wrote, “Planners should ensure that brownfield sites are used before granting permission for greenbelt sites.” She’s totally right.  But since the Government changed the law and made it easier for developers to build on greenfield and greenbelt land, sites in and around our area are under a lot of pressure.

But local planners have their hands tied. They can try to push brownfield sites but legal challenges from developers, working to the new Government legislation, mean their efforts are unsuccessful.

I’ve been pressing the Government to look again at the impact their changes have had and change the law. So far my letters have fallen on deaf ears. In fact Mr Pickles has yet to reply to my last letter from last October.

But rest assured I will continue to call on the Government to look at the impact their policy is having.  We desperately need affordable homes built in the right places to support local families and pensioners as well as the construction industry too.

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Posted March 12th, 2014 by Ed