THE housing landscape of Leeds is set be transformed in the coming decade.
Leeds City Council last night unveiled the locations of 66,000 new houses it is planning to build by 2028 as it bids to meet growing demand and tackle the city’s housing shortage.
All areas of Leeds will be targeted for new developments, with at least three per cent of the total new homes to be built in each of 11 areas, and on 763 individual sites. Thirty-four per cent of the total new builds would be in inner city areas and the city centre. Areas like Armley, Beeston, Belle Isle, Gipton, Harehills, Hyde Park, Hunslet and Seacroft would all get major housing boosts.
More than six in every 10 of the new homes are earmarked for brownfield land, previously developed sites which may have lain dormant for years.
The proposals will be debated by a senior planning panel next week, before being presented to the council’s cabinet for discussion next month. A six-week public consultation will be launched later in the year.
Leeds City Council’s executive member for neighbourhoods, planning and personnel, councillor Peter Gruen, said: “It is vital we get it right for the future of the city, its residents and the economy of Leeds.
“Providing 66,000 new homes is a challenging ambition but one in line with the city’s aim to be the best in the UK.
“People will be interested to see how much is being proposed in their area, but I would say we have tried to be fair across the city, with a clear policy on brownfield sites being used first and bringing back into use existing empty buildings in order to help protect the green belt.
“People should also look at what we are protecting and excluding from development.”
He said that with the council’s Core Strategy - its overall development vision for the city - now signed off by a Government inspector, it was now time to “get on with progressing these programmes to drive the city forward promoting growth across Leeds”.
A review of the programme will be carried out after the first three years to assess its progress, he added.
Councillor Neil Walshaw, chair of Leeds City Council’s development plan panel, stressed that ensuring the correct infrastructure was in place to support the swathes of potential developments was a key concern for the authority.
“Around all of the areas of possible development, the council has been working with infrastructure and service providers such as schools, health services and transport planners to ensure growth would be manageable and sustainable as that is essential in successfully introducing and accommodating any new housing,” he said.
Campaigners had a mixed reaction to the proposals, with some saying the 66,000 figure remained “too high” and unrealistic.
George Hall, a planning expert and community campaigner in Scholes, an area that has previously fought off major developments, said he remained “sceptical” and was “disappointed” at the timing of the announcement. But he added: “I hope that their aspirations are achievable.”
He said Leeds still has a “major shortfall” in infrastructure funding from Central Government, and even the new Community Infrastructure Levy - a tax on developers for contributions to local projects - would not be enough to cover it,
He claimed the process of coming to the 66,000 projected figure was “flawed”, adding that a target of 53,000 new homes - based on evidence campaigners have previously presented to the authority - would be “more justified and robust”.
However Dr Stephen Ellams, a member of campaign group W.A.R.D (Wharefedale and Airedale Review Development) was more optimistic. He said that should the council’s vision pan out, it could actually blaze a trail for other local authorities to follow, and could be a “very valuable exercise”.
“I am delighted to see they are putting [new homes] in the inner city area, that is absolutely necessary,” he added.
“You can actually refurbish some of these ghastly areas and make them into valuable communities. (And when you do) people do seem to want to live in these areas.”
He also urged the council to talk to other neighbouring authorities like Bradford about border areas.
But Dr Ellams also expressed concern that developers would not share the council’s vision for the inner city and brownfield sites, and would instead “cherry pick” more attractive green belt sites before even looking at any others.
HOW MANY HOMES FOR YOUR AREA?
Aireborough (Guiseley, Rawdon, Yeadon) 2,364 four per cent of total
City Centre 11,303 17 per cent
East Leeds (Crossgates/Whinmoor, Swarcliffe, Cross Green, Colton) 10.034 15 per cent
Inner Area (Gipton/Harehills, Armley, Beeston Hill, Belle Isle, Hyde Park/Woodhouse, Hunslet, Seacroft) 11,500 17 per cent
North Leeds (Headingley, Horsforth, Cookridge, Kirkstall, Adel, Alwoodley, Roundhay, Chapel Allerton) 5,960 nine per cent.
Outer North East (Scarcroft, Wetherby, Harewood, Thorner, Barwick in Elmet, Boston Spa, Bardsey, Collingham, Bramham) 4,943 seven per cent
Outer North West (Bramhope, Pool-in-Wharfedale, Otley) 1,800 three per cent
Outer South (Rothwell, Oulton, Mickletown) 2,465 four per cent
Outer South East (Kippax, Garforth, Allerton Bywater) 4,045 six per cent
Outer South West (Morley, Middleton, Beeston, Drighlington 6,875 10 per cent
Outer West (Pudsey, Farsley, Calverley, Rodley, Bramley) 4,723 seven per cent
HOW HOUSES WILL BE SPLIT
11 geographical housing areas in Leeds
Across 763 individual sites
34 per cent of the total will be in the city centre and inner city areas to boost generation and growth
62 per cent will be on brownfield (ie, previously developed) land
20 per cent of homes will be on green belt land.
819 hectares of green belt land will be built on, however the council also intends to reclassify 1,400 hectares of rural land as green belt
HOW MANY OF THE 66,000 NEW HOMES WOULD BE IN YOUR AREA?
>Aireborough (Guiseley, Rawdon, Yeadon) 2,364 four per cent of total
>City Centre 11,303 17 per cent
>East Leeds (Crossgates/Whinmoor, Swarcliffe, Cross Green, Colton) 10.034 15 per cent
>Inner Area (Gipton/Harehills, Armley, Beeston Hill, Belle Isle, Hyde Park/Woodhouse, Hunslet, Seacroft) 11,500 17 per cent
>North Leeds (Headingley, Horsforth, Cookridge, Kirkstall, Adel, Alwoodley, Roundhay, Chapel Allerton) 5,960 nine per cent.
>Outer North East (Scarcroft, Wetherby, Harewood, Thorner, Barwick in Elmet, Boston Spa, Bardsey, Collingham, Bramham) 4,943 seven per cent
>Outer North West (Bramhope, Pool-in-Wharfedale, Otley) 1,800 three per cent
>Outer South (Rothwell, Oulton, Mickletown) 2,465 four per cent
>Outer South East (Kippax, Garforth, Allerton Bywater) 4,045 six per cent
>Outer South West (Morley, Middleton, Beeston, Drighlington 6,875 10 per cent
>Outer West (Pudsey, Farsley, Calverley, Rodley, Bramley) 4,723 seven per cent