BROMSGROVE MP Sajid Javid is on a collision course with the district council’s Labour leader Coun Luke Mallett over housing.
It comes after Mr Javid, who is also the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, said councils in England could be stripped of their planning powers if they did not meet their housing targets.
Coun Mallett, one of the lead campaigners contesting the volume of housing proposed for Whitford Road, said he had several housing concerns, including a lack of infrastructure, insufficient affordable homes for young families and Bromsgrove having to take properties for Birmingham and Redditch.
“Mr Javid needs to come clean on where he really stands on housing development in his own backyard, as Bromsgrove faces a perfect storm of developers, a crisis in affordable housing and the council’s proposed development sites demonstrated not to have the infrastructure needed.
“He has tried to face both ways on this issue claiming to be against developments such as Hagley or to be concerned about the local transport infrastructure.
“But has done nothing to find the money needed for major investment in infrastructure such as the Western Relief Road, long called-for by the local community.
“Major applications such as Whitford Road were turned down in the High Court because there was not the infrastructure in place. The most senior high court planning judge accepted the arguments put forward by local campaigners that this would make traffic gridlock and harmful air pollution worse.
“We need more affordable homes in Bromsgrove, genuinely affordable homes for our local young people.
“We need to meet the housing needs of Bromsgrove before we start to look at providing houses for Redditch and Birmingham.”
Mr Javid hit back saying: “Labour left behind a broken housing market – putting home ownership out of reach for many.
“Without tackling this crisis we are unable to bring about the kind of society we want to see in Bromsgrove, and throughout the country.
“These new planning rules will ensure that land is used more efficiently, fast tracking planning permissions into homes and putting local plans in place to give communities more control.
“A new measure of the minimum housing need in an area will make it easier for councils to plan and ensure we get the right homes in the right places.
“It is a priority for this Government to build the homes people need, so everyone can afford a safe and decent place to live.”