Housing Targets (Pudsey)

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 4:16 pm on 3rd February 2015.

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Photo of Brandon Lewis Brandon Lewis Minister of State (Communities and Local Government) 4:16 pm, 3rd February 2015

My hon. Friend puts it succinctly, and I am sure that his residents will be hanging on those words. Leeds city council has a duty to do what is right for its area, and it should be listening to its residents to ensure that it protects the special environment where they live and which they enjoy.

When I am out visiting communities and speaking to constituents, I hear widespread support for the need to provide more housing. That sentiment has been expressed in this debate. However, that support is often swiftly followed by concerns about where the houses will be built, and understandably so. We love our countryside. The Government have therefore handed local councils the responsibility for planning to meet the local needs, but meeting our housing goals cannot justify approving the wrong development in the wrong location.

My hon. Friend the Member for Pudsey and my other hon. Friends have expressed their frustration about the fact that Leeds city council is reviewing green belt boundaries to meet local housing needs. I am sure that my hon. Friend and his constituents will continue to make strong representations to the council and will express their views about where new housing should be, as the site allocations document is prepared. I know that my hon. Friends will do that loudly, clearly and correctly.

The Government expect councils to utilise brownfield sites, and we aim for 90% of those sites to be developed by 2020. We are putting in hundreds of millions of pounds to fund their development. We are making it clear to councils that we expect them to develop brownfield sites first and protect our country’s green belt.