Leeds Council urged to cut '˜inflated' target of 70,000 new homes

A FRESH call has been made for Leeds City Council to review it's target of 70,000 new homes to be built in the city by 2028 amid claims communities face the prospect of 'unsustainable and unwanted' housing development.

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Leeds Conservative group leader Coun Andrew Carter urges council chiefs to reconsider the “inflated” housing target in a white paper motion to be discussed at a full council meeting at Leeds Civic Hall next Wednesday.

Coun Carter has continued to oppose the 70,000 homes proposals, which were rubber-stamped by senior councillors in 2014.

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The white paper motion will be discussed after residents’ groups in outer north east Leeds signalled their opposition to the council’s revised long term housing masterplan for the area, which includes proposals to build thousands of homes on greenbelt land.

The government wants all council to show how they will meet demand for housing by providing a five-year land supply – a list of sites for potential development.

Planning experts say councils which fail to have plans in place will be more vulnerable to challenges by developers who have planning applications refused.

Coun Carter wrote in the white paper motion: “This council recalls that all opposition groups on the council opposed the administration’s 70,000 housing target, regarding it as unrealistic and unnecessary. Council believes that these fears are now being realised.

“The ongoing issue of the city’s inflated housing target and the recent findings on five-year land supply mean that many Leeds communities face the prospect of unsustainable and unwanted housing development.

“This Council therefore resolves to immediately implement a review of housing numbers, while continuing to move ahead with the site allocations plan.

“The results of this review should be reported to executive board at the earliest opportunity.

“Council further resolves to write to the Housing and Planning Minister calling for a suspension of the five-year year land supply requirement on councils that are progressing quickly towards a site allocations plan hearing.

“In addition, while generally welcoming the national planning policy framework, we are concerned that it gives developers too much control over housing delivery.

“This council calls on the government to consider introducing penalties against developers who are found to be land banking, and for a report to be brought to executive board outlining what more can be done in Leeds to address this problem.”

Leeds City Council launched a review of its long-term housing strategy last year after an Office for National Statistics (ONS) report showed that the number of households in Leeds is projected to rise by 44,500 by 2028.

Last May, the council said they had analysed the ONS report, but had decided to stick with their original strategy after saying the report failed to take into account a range of factors.