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‘Locals first’ policy for homes in Silsden stokes controversy
9:00am Friday 25th October 2013 in News
Bradford Council will look at its policies for affordable housing after a committee said they were “uncomfortable” with plans to offer new homes to people in Silsden before anyone else in the district.
Six of the proposed 26 houses on a housing development off Daisy Hill which was approved earlier this month will be sold to a social housing provider.
But when the application was discussed by the Council’s regulatory and appeals committee, the idea of giving people in Silsden priority sparked debate.
One councillor claimed it seemed it was designed to “keep people out” of the town.
PA Snell and Sons, a Silsden-based builder behind the application, had agreed to buy the greenfield site from Bradford Council if it got permission for the new estate.
The application has already proved controversial, with Silsden Parish Council and more than 69 residents objecting for reasons including the concreting over of green land and the traffic congestion the houses might bring.
But the issue that caused most debate among councillors was the condition that the affordable houses be offered to people in the town first and only offered to people outside if there was not enough local demand.
But Coun Imran Khan said: “I’m not comfortable with this. This is more about keeping people out of Silsden than keeping people in. It is something I just wouldn’t be able to support.”
He said the houses should be offered to people who needed them most, wherever they were from in the district.
Coun Roger L’Amie added: “If I can afford a house I’ll chose where to live, if I need an affordable house then I’ll be told where I have to live.”
Coun Jackie Whiteley said giving Silsden residents priority could set a “very dangerous” precedent, adding: “This could have an impact on other applications.”
John Snell, one of the applicants, said approval would safeguard the jobs of 30 builders.
The committee eventually approved the application, four voting for and three against, but asked the council to look again whether it had any power to specify who had priority over the affordable houses.
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