'Unusual' plan for affordable homes at former Leeds college Horsforth campus

The former Leeds City College campus in Horsforth. Picture: Google.
The former Leeds City College campus in Horsforth. Picture: Google.

An "unusual" plan to build a housing development comprised only of affordable homes in an affluent area of Leeds is a step closer.

Social housing provider Stonewater Ltd has applied to create 65 homes at Leeds City College's former Horsforth Campus on Calverley Lane, a further education facility that closed in 2017.

The developer has submitted a reserved matters application to provide more details to planners about layout and house appearance after outline permission was approved in 2016.

Documents state that the development would comprise 100 per cent affordable housing to meet a “significant demand” in Horsforth, which many consider an affluent neighbourhood.

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The homes would be a mix of mix of two-, three- and four-bedroom houses for social rent and shared ownership.

Martin Fox, regional development manager for Stonewater said: The plans bring forward an entirely affordable housing scheme, something that Stonewater specialises in as one of the UK's leading housing associations, to help families in need of affordable rented housing, as well as providing opportunities for first-time buyers to get a foot on the property ladder.

"As a result of the development, the sale will allow the college to invest further in its new and existing education facilities, which will benefit its students, the community and wider region."

He added that as of June 30 2018, there were 564 households seeking two-bed accommodation and 241 households seeking three-beds in Horsforth, so the site would "go some way towards meeting this urgent demand for genuinely affordable housing".

Andrew Hardisty, director of Hardisty and Co estate agents, which has a branch in Horsforth, agreed that there is a strong demand for more affordable homes in the area.

He said: "We've found the demand to be really strong for that kind of property.

"Horsforth is a very high-regarded and sought-after area which has driven significant price increases in recent years.

"It's really well-supported by very well-performing schools and good links to Leeds city centre.

"It's difficult for people to get on the ladder. Whilst it's unusual (for this type of development to occur in Horsforth), we do welcome it."

Mr Hardisty added that such homes could allow younger people to "put roots down" in Horsforth and improve the diversity of the area.

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The planning statement reads: "In social terms, the proposals reflect priorities promoted in the NPPF (National Planning Policy Framework), which focus on creating healthy, inclusive communities.

"The proposals would create a safe and attractive residential development, well linked with existing amenities. The proposals have been designed to be sensitive to the needs and requirements of the community and in doing so could create a high quality development for local people."

It added: "Horsforth (has) a significant demand for affordable housing.

"There is a far higher demand for affordable housing than apartments, and therefore affordable housing is proposed."

More than 800 letters have been sent to residents in the area informing them of the new application, the planning statement says.

The developer said that its plan is consistent with NPPF aims to significantly boost housing supply and to deliver "a wide choice of high quality homes".

Government defines affordable housing as social rented, affordable rented and intermediate housing, provided to eligible households whose needs are not met by the market.

"Affordable rent" is usually no more than 80 per cent of the local market rent rate.

Stonewater manages around 32,000 homes in England for over 65,000 customers, including affordable properties for general rent, shared ownership and sale, alongside specialist accommodation such as retirement and supported living schemes for older and vulnerable people, and women’s refuges.