Leeds council chiefs approve Core Strategy review

Leeds, Leeds Star

Senior councillors in Leeds have approved a selective review of the Core Strategy which underpins all development in the city at a meeting today.

At its meeting at Civic Hall today, the council’s executive board formally approved a review of the strategy to take place this year, fulfilling the commitment made when the strategy was adopted in November 2014 for it to be reviewed within three years.

The review will focus on the housing need figure for Leeds, which was set down in the Core Strategy as being a net 66,000 new homes. The review will take into account the latest information available on housing need and delivery in the city, as well as the updated national assessment guidelines following on from the government’s housing white paper released yesterday.

As part of the review scope, the executive board also approved extending the plan period to provide the new homes from 2028 to 2033. Together with the phased approach to bringing forward sites for development, the additional five-year period will offer further flexibility to respond to levels of housing need in the city over time.

Proposals for the locations of the new homes to be provided also moved on to the next stage, with the executive board approving the Site Allocations Plan (SAP) to go forward for final comments to be received which will then be presented to the government for examination.

The SAP allocates land for future housing, retail and greenspace use in the city, and is now at an advanced stage following extensive development and consultation.

Leeds City Council executive member for regeneration, transport and planning Councillor Richard Lewis said:

“These two key elements of our housing and planning policy are hugely important in giving Leeds a clear plan-led approach guiding all future development. Reviewing the Core Strategy and the level of housing need is something we said we would do within three years, so today’s approval reaffirms that commitment.

“The review will take into account the latest housing figures and also the government’s white paper released yesterday, which contains elements which the government states will help us to speed up the process between planning approval being given and homes being built. Clearly we need to look at the detail of this, but that is what we all want to see, along with a clear focus on tackling the shortage of affordable housing and city centre rental accommodation in Leeds.

“Extending the plan period to 2033 is important as it gives us additional flexibility and control as a city to ensure housing growth is carried out in an appropriate, sustainable and controllable way.

“The Site Allocations Plan has taken a long time to get to this point, but we are almost ready to send it to the government for examination so that will happen later this year as a key part of our drive to be a compassionate city with a strong economy supporting all our communities.”

The Site Allocations Plan follows on from the Core Strategy which was adopted in Leeds in 2014 after being endorsed by a government inspector with 70,000 new homes identified as being needed up to 2028. This 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.

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.