Proposals to slash the housing target for Leeds are set to go before Leeds City Council’s executive board on the 13th of December, potentially cutting the housing target to just shy of 52,000 from 70,000.
The change would mean that more than half the threatened areas of greenbelt land in Leeds would be temporarily protected from building, and give the council more leeway as to where they build the properties going forwards.
The areas of greenbelt land, which will now not be built on in the short term, had been earmarked for more than 6,000 homes. The proposed revision to the Site Allocations Plan follows a technical review of green belt housing allocations carried out following a new government methodology for calculating housing figures for the future.
It also comes after significant opposition was raised from residents living close to the greenbelt sites, who suggested that Leeds multitudes of brownfield sites would make for a more suitable home.
In a statement the council said: "In light of potentially lower overall housing targets for Leeds, the council has taken stock of its approach to green belt release for housing development with the revised proposal seeing green belt land identified as being the locations for 6,450 future homes now being retained as green belt.
"These areas will remain in the Site Allocations Plan, but will not be released for development until the council has a revised housing requirement following its own Core Strategy Selective Review and can determine, at that time, whether release of further green belt land is necessary."
Leeds City Council executive member for regeneration, transport and planning Councillor Richard Lewis said: "Recent government announcements on housing has resulted in the council taking prudent and responsible steps to review this information and the implications for Leeds. Getting our long-term housing policy and direction planned in a clear and right way is essential for the future of our city and our communities. We have successfully struck a balance between allowing our city to grow and develop in a coordinated and fair way, meet the need for new homes across Leeds and ensure there is no unnecessary loss of green belt land.
“Based on this approach the council has taken stock of longer term allocations for housing in the green belt, with a view to protecting 33 housing sites, rather than releasing them from the green belt prematurely. This equates to nearly 55 per cent of the green belt sites currently allocated in the plan."
It is expected that the council will pass the resolution, cutting the required housing target and temporarily removing the threat to greenbelt housing. However, it remains true that these sites remain in threat from future housing developments.
If accepted, the plan will go into public consultation in the new year, at which point members of the public will be able to put across their support or criticism of the plan – a vital phase in any largescale planning operation.
As always, we’ll bring you the latest when we have it.