No let-up in row over 66,000 new Leeds homes

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HOUSING chiefs have defended newly unveiled plans to build 66,000 homes across Leeds by 2028.

The YEP reported earlier this week that large swathes of housing are earmarked for 11 areas and 763 individual sites across the city, after the council revealed details of the pieces of land it is allocating for development as part of its long term regeneration masterplan.

Political opponents have already slammed the numbers as “unrealistic and unsustainable” - and expressed concerns about the high amount of greenfield space being set aside for development.

And coun David Blackburn, leader of the council’s Green group, said today that the numbers made “no sense”.

“It is based on projections made in the Regional Spatial Strategy which dates back a number of years ago.”

The party is joining in a cross-party opposition call for a review of the numbers. COun Blackburn added: “Hopefully the administration will see sense, before the volume builders come along and cherry pick all the green field sites.”

Responding to the wider criticism, Coun Peter Gruen, the council’s executive member for planning, said: “We are focused on the need to meet one of the biggest challenges Leeds faces, which is to provide enough quality, accessible homes to meet the city’s growing population, while protecting the quality of the environment and respecting community identity.

“We have been focused on making sure we use brownfield land first wherever this is suitable. Indeed, as part of this process we are proposing to put land currently designated as rural back into the green belt, which amounts to around 1,400 hectares of new green belt land.

“To further illustrate our commitment to minimise green belt development, our proposals mean in 16 wards (out of 25 with green belt land in them) the requirement on the green belt would be less than three per cent.”