£2.3bn masterplan to transform Leeds council housing stock

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COUNCIL bosses are putting together a £2.3bn masterplan to transform Leeds’s council housing stock over the next 30 years.

A total of £787m could be spent in the next decade alone on improving the city’s local authority owned homes, it is hoped.

Yet housing bosses admit there are short-term cash shortfalls - and “difficult decisions” have to be made.

Yesterday a cross-party scrutiny panel heard about the proposals at Leeds Civic Hall.

Steve Hunt, chief officer of property and contracts for Leeds City Council, told councillors that in 2012 self financing was introduced and Leeds had looked at the city’s investment needs over the next three decades, until 2045.

He said: “We don’t believe there will be a shortfall over the next 30 years, but there is a short term problem regarding cashflow over the next five years, so we have to decide what work we are doing and what the priorities are. Overall, it is a good news story. We have funding available and can do all the work we need to improve housing stock, but may struggle to reach targets initially.”

He said areas which need improvement work immediately were being prioritised.

Councillor Pauleen Graham (Lab, Whinmoor and Crossgates) said: “I hope housing stock is going to be looked at fairly across the city, not just in certain areas?”

Coun Peter Gruen, the council’s cabinet spokesman on housing, added: “We don’t want to fall into the trap of over promising or over delivering.”

Mr Hunt said each home would be assessed and in places like high rise tower blocks, inefficient storage heaters would be replaced within five years.

He added that the plan was a “work in progress” and could change over time due to “investment income and investment needs”.