Businesses in Bradford’s property sector came face-to-face with their arch-nemesis recently, when Shipley MP Philip Davies spoke at the Property Forum.
The outspoken and maverick MP had been the bane of the city’s planners and property folk for the last few months, due to his intervention in the process to ear-mark land for housing and commercial use. Mr Davies agreed to speak to the Forum on 5 April, following an approach from West & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, which runs the Forum. He was joined on a panel by developers, a consultant and Bradford Council.
Mr Davies, never afraid to speak his mind, told the audience and the panel that it was his duty to represent his constituents, who were opposed to any development of green belt land in Wharfedale. The breakfast meeting was a lively but good-natured meeting that often saw the MP in a minority of one. Philip held his own though, defending his position strongly against not only the panel but also an audience made up of property professionals, asking questions ranging from housing need, securing employment land and tree preservation orders.
Afterwards, BPF Chairman, Allan Booth of Rance Booth Smith architects, said:
“Philip knew what to expect when he agreed to attend the event, so he cannot be accused of dodging the flak; and we expect him to represent his constituents; but the other panellists also put forward good reasons for why the inclusion of some green belt is necessary. Now that the plan has been released by the Government, we look forward to seeing which particular sites will be in there. It’s an issue we’ll return to again, I’m sure.”
Other speakers on the panel were Steve Hartley, Bradford Council, Clive Brook, freelance consultant, Steve McBurney, CEG and Ian Ruthven, Barratt & David Wilson Homes.
The next gathering is a joint Bradford and Leeds Property Forum to discuss transport and infrastructure – 17 May, 5-7pm in Leeds. Call the Chamber of Commerce Policy Team for more information – 01274 230057/0113 247 0000.