The construction of hundreds of new homes in Leeds moved a step closer yesterday after Chancellor George Osborne announced the city is set to benefit from a new £1 billion scheme to encourage more housebuilding.
Over the next six years, the Government will give £1 billion to councils and developers to help them kickstart housing schemes which have stalled in recent years.
Among the early developments expected to benefit is the long mooted East Leeds Extension.
Mr Osborne unveiled the new support for housing projects yesterday as he delivered his Autumn Statement, an update on the state of the country’s finances and Government measures to help the economy.
He told MPs: “Some of the most important infrastructure for British families is housing and we have to confront this simple truth: If we want more people to own a home, we have to build more homes.”
The East Leeds Extension could eventually see the development of up to 7,000 homes around the city’s eastern fringe as well as the construction of a new East Leeds orbital road running from the Outer Ring Road at Red Hall, round the east side of Leeds, to Thorpe Park.
Earlier this year, the council granted planning permission for a major new development at Thorpe Park including shops, office space and a park which could create as many as 13,000 jobs.
The Government cash announced yesterday is likely to help meet the costs of building new roads and other infrastructure that make the development of housing possible.
The Government has introduced a raft of schemes to help people buy homes but this has led to warnings that prices will rise sharply unless more is done to build more houses.
Figures published yesterday suggest house prices could rise by 3.2 per cent this year, 5.2 per cent in 2014 and 7.2 per cent in 2015.
Mr Osborne told MPs yesterday that housebuilding was rising at the fastest rate for 10 years and the number of planning approvals for new homes had jumped by more than a third.
He said: “Aspiration isn’t only for people who can afford their own home.
“We want to regenerate some of our most run-down urban housing estates.”