70,000 new Leeds homes target is ‘outdated and unnecessary’

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HOUSING bosses are being urged to make a u-turn on their “excessive” house-building targets for the city over the coming decade.

Councillor Andrew Carter, leader of the main opposition Tory group at Leeds City Council, is demanding that the ruling Labour administration scraps its projected figures of 70,000 new homes by 2028 - and drops its target to 50,000.

This is despite a Government inspector recently giving the go-ahead for the city’s draft Core Strategy, an official vision for future development, which plans for 70,000 new houses. The document is expected to be adopted by the council later this year. Speaking at a meeting of the council’s cabinet, Coun Carter said new population projections had shown that Leeds will not grow at the rate first expected.

He said previous growth figures had been based on outdated Office of National Statistics (ONS) Projections from 2008, which showed that Leeds would grow by 144,500.

However the most recent population projections indicate the population of Leeds will grow by 81,800 people between 2012 and 2028, a decrease of around 43 per cent.

Coun Carter said the current housing targets were simply
 “too ambitious and too much” adding that many communities were “very rightly concerned” about potential impact on 
them of swathes of new developments.

Housing boss Coun Peter Gruen acknowledged colleagues’ “anxiety around population” adding that he accepts “scepticism” around numbers.

But he stressed the council was doing “ongoing work around population forecasts and that is not going to stop”.

“We will appraise [the 
situation] very carefully, he added. “But as everyone agrees, having the plan is the best safeguard.”

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