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Changes to Leeds City Council housing plan after inspection

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A planning inspector has criticised elements of Leeds City Council’s housing and development vision, branding one part of it “not sound” and urging a rethink.

The comments come after a two week public examination in October, which scrutinised the authority’s Core Strategy, an expansive document which sets out the long-term vision and principles for local development.

Reporting in relation to affordable housing, the inspector said the council had erred by including its affordable housing targets in a supplementary planning document (SPD), rather than in the Core Strategy itself.

This meant the authority’s approach “conflicts with national policy and is not sound”, he said. The inspector concluded that unless the main policy “sets thresholds and targets which are certain, viable and deliverable, I cannot see how I can conclude that the Core Strategy will meet the identified need for affordable housing”.

Coun Peter Gruen, Leeds council’s executive board member for neighbourhoods and planning, said: “The council’s core strategy submission has recently been the subject of independent examination. In regards to setting affordable housing targets, the planning inspector has recommended that thresholds and targets for affordable housing are incorporated within the Core Strategy rather than through the use of a supplementary planning document.”

At a meeting this week, the council’s cabinet took note of the inspector’s comments and agreed to revise the policy to incorporate affordable housing targets into the main Core Strategy. Coun Gruen said the revisions will “ensure the most effective way forward”.

Opposition Conservative group leader Coun Andrew Carter said: “We missed a trick and we have been pulled up on it, and the sooner we put it right, the better.”

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