A masterplan outlining the future of housing development in Leeds looks set to be formally adopted by senior councillors.
The authority’s Core Strategy is a blueprint for development over the next 15 years, which includes the “ambitious target” of building up to 70,000 new homes and the commitment to back 62 new Gypsy and traveller pitches.
Housing chiefs have come under fire since the document’s new housing target became apparent, with community campaigners and Conservative councillors branding it “excessive” while fears over the protection of green field land have been raised.
Coun Peter Gruen, the council’s executive member for neighbourhoods and planning, has come out in defence of the plan, which covers development until 2028, before it goes before the authority’s full council today.
“The 90,000 new homes the housebuilders have always wanted have been rejected, while others say we only need 50,000. We are in the middle,” he said. “We accept it’s ambitious. The biggest change for us will be we are back in control of our own destiny – we have a plan, it’s up to date.”
He said all housing applications will be considered on a case-by-case basis with no focus on any given area of Leeds, flatly refusing there is a ‘north-south divide’ in terms of housing development. The Core Strategy states that until 2018 the council will ensure 65 per cent of new housing is built on brownfield land.
The new document is to take the place of the Unitary Development Plan, first adopted in 2001 and reviewed in 2006, that is now considered out of date.
It has twice gone before Government inspectors and includes a commitment to back 25 new council-run traveller pitches by 2028, 28 private and nine temporary ‘negotiated stopping sites’ after research into Leeds’s ‘unmet need’ for accommodation.
Coun Gruen added: “I’m totally convinced that without a plan we would be in a much, much worse place than with one. It allows us to build up from the planning foundations better and also meet the needs of the changing population of Leeds.”