Leeds City Council has today released initial conclusions of the Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA), which will be used to inform the housing requirement as part of its Core Strategy review.
When the Core Strategy was adopted in 2014 following an independent examination by a government inspector, a housing target of 70,000 (net) new homes for the city was endorsed up to 2028. It was agreed this figure would be reviewed within three years, taking into account changing national information and importantly, the government’s latest proposals for a standardised way of calculating housing needs.
As part of the SHMA, the council has undertaken new technical work and consulted residents through a survey of their housing aspirations. In developing this approach, a SHMA Reference Group has been established and consulted, consisting of representatives from community groups, older people and student groups, affordable housing providers and housebuilders from across Leeds.
Following the latest meeting of this group today, Leeds City Council executive member for regeneration, transport and planning Councillor Richard Lewis said:
“The housing figure set out in the Core Strategy was based on evidence at the time and it is important to remember it was endorsed by an independent government inspector following a thorough examination. We committed to a review within three years and the latest information and population evidence points to lower and slower growth than was originally forecast.
“So it is likely this review will recommend the overall figure for housing need should be reduced to reflect what we know now. Once the findings of the SHMA are finalised, the council will need to consider a revised housing requirement as part of the Core Strategy review, the implications for site delivery and phasing for development.”
Chair of the Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA) Reference Group Councillor Peter Gruen said:
“I welcome the opportunity to take soundings from the SHMA Reference Group on the initial conclusions of the technical work, which indicates that a revised housing need for Leeds may be in the region of 55,000 homes up to 2033 (the revised plan period as part of the Core Strategy review). There is more work to do in finalising the SHMA and the council will need to fully consider its findings. Any revised housing figure would then be subject to wider public consultation by the end of the year.”
The council’s Site Allocations Plan which released land for 66,000 new homes up to 2028 is now at independent examination stage. This process will continue in order to meet government requirements and also to provide certainty for communities, investors and infrastructure providers. It is necessary to meet current housing needs, assist regeneration priorities, to help manage land availability for new homes and to protect communities against speculative and unsustainable development. The Site Allocations Plan Inspectors are aware of the ongoing Core Strategy review.
Leeds City Council will continue to carry out a range of initiatives to meet housing needs in the city, maintaining its focus on delivering new council housing, bringing empty properties back into use and regenerating brownfield land first.
The 70,000 new homes figure includes an allowance for new development through demolitions and ‘windfall’ sites, which means the Site Allocations Plan and Aire Valley Leeds Area Action Plan allocates land for a net total of 66,000 new homes overall.
To provide these homes the plans split the Leeds district into 11 geographical housing areas with the new homes to be developed in three phases. Of the 11 areas, the two highest in terms of receiving new housing would be the city centre and ‘inner area’ of Armley, Beeston Hill, Belle Isle, Gipton and Harehills, Hyde Park and Woodhouse, Hunslet and Seacroft to help boost regeneration and economic growth in those parts of the city.