A Government minister has stepped in to pause a controversial development blueprint, after Shipley’s MP raised fears about the scale of building in the green belt.
But Bradford Council bosses have responded with anger, accusing Philip Davies of jeopardising the very fields he sought to protect.
The Council’s executive was today poised to back the core strategy of its Local Plan, which includes controversial proposals to build 11,000 homes on green belt land by 2030.
But in a dramatic twist, planning minister Gavin Barwell has told the authority to halt all proceedings while the Government investigates concerns raised by Conservative MP Mr Davies.
The delay has provoked angry responses with Council leader, Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe, accusing Mr Davies of “a completely irresponsible abuse of power”.
Mr Davies had lobbied Communities Secretary Sajid Javid to intervene after a Government planning inspector effectively ratified the Council’s strategy last month.
In particular, Mr Davies raised concerns about the loss of green belt which was being proposed for Wharfedale.
He said the plan should include rules that developers have to build on all available brownfield land before moving into the green belt.
And he said the core strategy would only bring back into use 3,000 of the 7,700 empty homes in the district.
Mr Barwell has told Bradford Council to stop all work on adopting the plan, while Communities Secretary Mr Javid looks into the matter and decides whether to intervene.
At the meeting of the Labour-run Council’s executive, an angry Cllr Hinchcliffe said the inspector had already listened to Mr Davies’ views and had decided to back the plan.
She said: “This is him taking his bat and ball home and triggering a process that is going to eat up the time and energy of the Government and the Council and will end up with nothing changing.”
The authority’s portfolio holder for planning, Councillor Alex Ross-Shaw, added: “This is an absolutely pathetic stunt, to be honest.