YEP Says, January 6: Question marks still remain over housing blueprint for Leeds

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...and pothole problem will continue to plague city

FIRST, the undeniable issue: Leeds doesn’t have enough affordable, good quality housing to cope with its growing population. The solution? To build 66,000 new homes over the next 13 years.

It may sound straightforward enough on paper, but the reality is that this is a huge undertaking that is destined to change the face of the city.

And some questions still remain.

For instance, how many of these developments will provide truly affordable housing that is in line with average household incomes?

How will developers be persuaded to build on mostly brownfield sites, given all the added costs that this involves?

Does the plan include the right level of social housing, and how will the necessary associated infrastructure for these homes in terms of new roads, schools and health facilities be funded?

And finally, can a plan to build nearly two-fifths of these homes on existing greenfield sites really be described as “protecting the green belt”?

Where the blueprint unveiled by Leeds scores is in its concentration on inner city areas, where it is to be hoped that this large-scale development will prove the catalyst for much-needed regeneration.

However, there are still many questions to be answered – not least whether a goal of building at a rate of around 5,000 new homes a year is a realistic one.

Pothole problem will continue to plague city

AMID the debate over the high-speed rail revolution, motorists continue to feel that they’re getting a raw deal.

Indeed, even after the shameful neglect of the network in recent years – and the subsequent backlog of repairs – it’s a problem it would take just a quarter of the projected cost of HS2 to fix.

The bad news for drivers is that only half that level of funding has been promised by the Government.

It means that Leeds likely to see for yet another patching up operation which will simply provide a short-term fix to the problem rather than a long-term solution.

Cyclist Mark Cavendish at a press conference at The Piece Hall, Halifax. PIC: Tony Johnson

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