Cartoon Green Belt Hanging Basket. Graham Chaffer 2018.

On Wednesday,  Leeds City Council decided to approve a lower housing target of 51,952 net from 2017 – 2033.

However, the Site Allocation Plan for the housing target of 70,000 houses from 2012 – 2018 continues to be examined by the Planning Inspectorate on LCC’s request.

The debate recorded on the Council website here highlights the confusion and issues that Leeds City Council has caused with its Local Plan and housing proposals. It is worth a listen in full. (see section 5).


We fully agree that the current site allocation plan (SAP) is a mess.  The Core Strategy (CS) however, does have  merit.  The issue in the Core Strategy is the overall housing target, and the way it has been translated into housing targets for each area of the City, which are not justified by housing need data, land opportunity, environmental factors, or the spatial strategy which puts regeneration first.

Not only has the SAP caused issues by following the unsustainable part of the CS,  but it has then put its own warping twists into the mix through rearranging the phasing of housing especially that planned on green belt land.

So what should happen?

In our view, the basics are

  • The housing target should be lowered to around 42,000 between 2012 – 2028,
  • A comprehensive green belt review done in conjunction with neighbouring Local Authorities
  • The housing targets for each areas set sensibly,  based on need, opportunity, environmental factors, and spatial strategy for regeneration
  • AND an infrastructure plan put in place with key statutory bodies
  • Neighbourhood plans should be involved in the process so that there is collaboration with local people and businesses – as the NPPF says there should be

There is a lot of ‘collaborating’ on this list if LCC are to have a sustainable Local Plan – that may be the hardest ask of all !!