‘Leeds City Council must be stricter on affordable homes legislation’

NUMBERS: Will the new targets allow for more variety within developments?
NUMBERS: Will the new targets allow for more variety within developments?
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With housing targets in Leeds set to be reduced by almost 20,000 there are calls for planners to be more vigorous in enforcing legislation for the provision of affordable homes.

Leeds City Council has started a six-week consultation on its Core Strategy, covering all development in Leeds, in particular housing.

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It follows new government guidelines on assessing future housing need, which states that Leeds needs to provide 51,952 new homes from 2017 to 2033 – not 70,000 as previously thought.

Together with a phased approach to bringing forward sites for development, an extended delivery period from 2028 to 2033 gives further flexibility to respond to levels of housing need in the city.

The updated Core Strategy also includes an increase in the percentage of affordable homes which should be built in new development projects from five to seven per cent.

Coun Stewart Golton (Lib Dem) said Leeds was under-performing in meeting those figures. At a recent meeting of the Executive Board, as the revised strategy was approved to go to consultation, he said: “It is welcomed that the affordability percentage is to be increased. Leeds is one of the top five (cities) for allowing developments off for affordable housing (requirements) because of a ‘viability assessment’. As a consequence we have lost 338 affordable homes. The ambition is there but our delivery on that is questionable. How can we perform better in that area?”

Tim Hill, chief planning officer said since 2014 there had been 132 schemes where the policy was applicable and 80 per cent were compliant, meaning 23 sites were not.

Two drop-ins will be at the Civic Hall. One for the public, March 1, 2pm-7pm and developers on March 15, 2pm.