White Paper Next Week Will Call For Leeds To Review Its Housing Target – Show Your Support

wrong-wayLeed’s City Council’s housing target of 70,000 is now causing serious problems for the sensible, and sustainable, development of the City.  To address this serious situation, a White Paper is to be put to the Council on the 9th November 2016, by Cllr Andrew Carter CBE.

The White Paper calls for a review of the housing target to start as soon as possible, and for the Council to ask the Communities Minister to suspend the need for Leeds to have a 5 year land supply until it has sorted out a site allocation plan.  Communities around Leeds are being urged by community groups to support this paper by writing a letter to LCC Councillors urging them to vote for it next week.

The wellbeing problems of an overly ambitious target

Issues being caused by the current housing target include, far too many four bedroom houses being built and not nearly enough two and three bedroom houses.  Brownfield sites being left to rot, whilst green fields, with more infrastructure requirements,  are snapped up and developed with undue haste.  Meanwhile, services such as health and social care are being reduced in outlying areas , at the same time as huge numbers of additional houses are being planned for the very same areas.

The strategic issues of a target that should never have been approved

Overall, the City is at least two years behind on its 4,375 annual target between 2012 and 2028 – and has now been deemed by Judges to not have the all important 5 year land supply to meet that target: the result of which is that Developers can build more or less anywhere they wish that is not green belt or specially protected landscape: and even green belt is threatened by a recent court case on NPPF 49.   Meanwhile, Bradford Council’s housing target of 42,100 means they want to release green belt for 11,000 houses, much of which is on the green belt border between Leeds and Bradford, including 2,500 houses for Wharfedale.  Leeds City Council has objected to the Bradford Plan on its border because of the issues it will cause for infrastructure and transport !!

They were warned

Unholy mess, does not begin to tell the true story, and the irony is that the City Council were warned this would happen if they passed the Core Strategy in November 2014; but they passed it in order to stop appeals and Developers building where they wanted – well that hasn’t worked.  This is what we wrote at the time.

Population forecasts have fallen leaving Leeds housing target exposed 

Meanwhile, the Government’s Local Plan Expert Group reported earlier this year that Leeds and Bradford  Councils’ both had grossly inflated housing targets,  caused by aspirational employment  forecasts: whilst Office of National Statistics population projection data now shows Leeds household forecasts around 45 – 50% lower than those the initial 70,000 target was based on.   The recommendations from the LPEG are now subject to a new Government White Paper to be introduced as part of the Neighbourhood Planning Bill currently under scrutiny.

What you can do to push for change

So,  should you wish to write to Leeds City Councillors, en masse, and urge them to do the sensible thing and review the Leeds Housing Target, whilst working out with the Government the best way to put a moratorium on Developers taking advantage of the situation for Corporate Gain rather than community sustainability; then this is the email and suggested text.  Or you can use your own words.    You can write to all 99 Councillors with one letter or email at  Councillors.All@leeds.gov.uk.

Dear Councillors

I write to formally request you as an elected representative of the City of Leeds, support WP1 presented by Councillor Andrew Carter.

The Green Belt and Green space across the City of Leeds is under attack by speculative developers seeking to exploit the 5-year land supply anomaly for their own financial gain with little or no regard for the true housing needs of the city and the wellbeing of its electorate.

In summary, the white paper proposes:

• The immediate review of Leeds Housing Numbers
• The council write to Housing and Planning Minister calling for a suspension of 5-year supply requirement on councils that are progressing towards a site allocations plan hearing

The green belt and its green infrastructure is the city’s most valued asset, not only for preserving the unique rural character of the city, but also for the health and wellbeing of ALL citizens of Leeds.

We respectfully demand on our behalf and for the good of Leeds and its citizens you put party politics aside and support this white paper.

Yours faithfully