Call for overhaul of council housing plan in Leeds

Long-term plans to build more council houses in Leeds have been “mismanaged”, according to a senior Leeds city councillor.
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The leader of the council’s Liberal Democrats group will next week call for an overhaul to the way new council housing is built in the city, insisting that new lets should be built in every single ward over the next five years.

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Back in 2019, the council agreed its council housing growth programme, which it had hoped would deliver 300 new council homes a year.

Coun Stewart GoltonCoun Stewart Golton
Coun Stewart Golton
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But, according to statistics seen by the Local Democracy Reporting Service, only 59 new council homes have been built by the programme since June 2019, while a further 268 are on site and yet to be finished.

In addition to this, the authority has bought up another 109 homes in the city.

Even when added together, this comes to a total of just 457 new homes delivered or currently on site in nearly two and a half years – a time period in which the council had hoped that figure to have been closer to around 700.

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Coun Stewart Golton said this simply isn’t good enough, and will call on the authority to create a separate company to deliver the homes more efficiently.

He also attacked the authority for relying too heavily on city centre building schemes to meet its housing targets.

His motion, known as a white paper, is set to go before a full Leeds City Council meeting next week. It reads: “This council regrets that the current administration’s delivery of affordable housing for the people of Leeds has been sub-optimal, and in particular has led to a worsening shortage of affordable homes to rent and buy.

“The council’s mismanagement of the much-vaunted council housing growth program has delivered considerably less than the promised 300 homes per year; the housing company promised to help deliver affordable homes has been abandoned before even being constituted.

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“The tendency to accept commuted sums, and the council’s reliance on city centre schemes to achieve its citywide housing targets has allowed the lowest percentage of affordable homes built through private development for years.

“Council therefore calls on the administration to review its current council housing growth strategy to vary the housing delivery options allowed within the business model and constitute a housing company to enable council housing growth opportunities in communities with little council owned land.”

It also calls on the authority to commit to refurbishing properties to create new council housing, as well as ensuring that good quality affordable housing is built within local communities, and commit to new council housing “in every Leeds City Council ward within the next five years”.

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Members of Leeds City Council vote on whether to adopt the motion as council policy at a meeting on Wednesday, November 10.

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