LEEDS council bosses have launched a three-pronged assault on the city’s housing crisis.
An almost unprecedented 1,800 new homes have just been approved in one single sitting of planning chiefs to help plug chronic shortages.
It’s the latest piece of the city’s housing jigsaw, which has seen 10,000 new homes green-lighted over the past two years. The city aims to build 66,000 homes by 2028.
At the same time, city leaders are also promising to use all the powers at their disposal - and to lobby Government for even stronger powers - to tackle rogue landlords and absentee owners who are letting 4,000 long term empty houses go to rot. They say both are factors fuelling wider housing problems.
Communities boss councillor Debra Coupar said the clampdown was “just one part of our strategy to ensure there are quality, affordable homes in Leeds”.
Leeds City Council’s most influential plans panel has just rubberstamped either full or outline permissions for five schemes across the city.
It’s one the largest numbers of new builds signed off in a single sitting in recent times, and was only stopped from being the biggest ever because plans for 500 homes on part of the Seacroft hospital site were sent back to the drawing board.
The largest single approval is in the city centre, where the City Reach scheme on the former Yorkshire Chemicals site on Kirkstall Road will provide 780 new flats and 234 student bedsits, together with a raft of leisure and retail facilities. A further 270 homes were approved off Tyersal Lane in Tyersal, and the other three schemes will see around 530 new homes in Micklefield.
The city aims to build 66,000 new homes in total by 2028 as part of its Core Strategy aims. Currently, around 70 per cent of all new homes in Leeds are being approved on brownfield sites.
The council’s executive member for regeneration, transport and planning, Richard Lewis, said: “It is very pleasing that these new homes in such significant numbers have been approved, as it shows the positive relationship we have with developers who want to invest in our city. We are committed to providing the new homes and infrastructure the city needs as it continues to grow, and especially to see brownfield sites redeveloped to boost regeneration and growth and to offer as much affordable housing as possible to make Leeds the ideal place to live, work and visit.”
EXPERT PANEL BACKS CHANGE
The YEP recently bought together experts from across the city - representing housing charities, social home providers and regeneration bosses - to try to come up with creative and viable solutions.
Points highlighted included “problematic” planning laws, and the need both for tougher regulation of landlords and unlocking more brownfield land in inner city areas. The panel also felt a lack of national Government-led housing standards had led to a sometimes “chaotic” situation in the social housing sector, with councils left to fend for themselves.