MEMBERS of a Leeds City Council plans panel deferred final approval for a £55m riverside homes and leisure complex after councillors said a decision by developers not to include affordable housing on the site was ‘elitist’ and amounted to “social exclusion.”
Developers CTP and regeneration specialists U+I want to give Leeds City Council £755,000 to build affordable housing elsewhere in the city rather than include it in the planned ‘Mustard Wharf’ development of 250 new homes, office space, bars, cafés, restaurants and public spaces in the Granary Wharf Car Park on Canal Wharf, Holbeck.
When planning permission was first granted for the development of three buildings last summer, it was on the grounds that five per cent of the Mustard Wharf site would be reserved for affordable homes.
But a city plans panel meeting heard the council is now being asked to accept a “commuted sum” of £755,996.87 towards off-site affordable housing provision.
Coun Tom Leadley (Morley North/Morley Borough Independents), told the city plans panel meeting: “You get the impression that it is something to do with social exclusion. They think they are going to get nightmare tenants, a 53-year-old meths drinker who claims DSS benefits and takes caravan holidays in Skegness who is not going to fit in with the bright young things that occupy the rest of the flats.”
Plans panel member Coun Sharon Hamilton (Moortown/Labour), said: “I think it’s not inclusive. I think they will be looking for certain people, an elite, and will be excluding a lot of people and we as a council believe in diversity.”
Coun Hamilton added: “We don’t want a city centre that’s not inclusive.”
Coun David Blackburn (Farnley and Wortley/Green Party) said: “All it can be is saying we don’t want a certain class of person and that’s not on.”