'No confidence' motion over Leeds City Council's housing plan delivery

Leeds skyline

A motion of no confidence in Leeds City Council has been put forward over its delivery of plans to allow tens of thousands of new homes to be built across the area.

The Labour authority’s responsible member for planning, Coun Richard Lewis, said he was “very surprised and somewhat disappointed” that an Extraordinary Meeting has been scheduled for Wednesday to debate the Site Allocations Plan (SAP).

Coun Richard Lewis.

But Conservative leader Coun Andrew Carter, who put forward the motion, was also angered that the special gathering at Civic Hall from 10.30am had been arranged on the same day as another full council meeting, with concerns it will not be debated thoroughly enough.

It after it emerged the Government was consulting on guidelines that could set a new basic target of 42,000 new homes in Leeds by 2028 – a dramatic drop from the authority’s own target of 66,000.

Inspectors were due to carry out a public review of Leeds’s housing blueprint in October, but the sessions examining the homes aspect of the SAP are now expected in March – although Coun Carter said there are rumours it could begin even later.

His White Paper Motion reads: “This Council has no confidence in the ability of the ruling administration of Leeds City Council to deliver a coherent and sound SAP at the reconvened examination process.”

Conservative Group leader Coun Andrew Carter.

The Calverley and Farsley representative is concerned that the SAP – which he believes is “the most important issue facing the city in the short to medium term” – risks too much Green Belt development, branding its current target “undeliverable and unnecessary”.

He said: “In my view they have not been straight with other parties and the people of Leeds. We are not prepared to see our environment wilfully and needlessly sacrificed. The council are way behind the curve on this. If they were to stand up and make some unequivocal statement about the direction of travel or what they were seeking to do, it could improve the situation dramatically.”

Coun Richard Lewis, executive member for regeneration, transport and planning, said: “I am very surprised and somewhat disappointed that another meeting has been called for this, especially on the morning of Full Council day when a discussion could have been held on the same topic. I am happy to save comments for the meeting but can say that I look forward to the debate.”

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