Council determined to find new ways to provide homes in Leeds
Leeds City Council is set to explore the possibility of building homes for sale.
Members of the council’s executive board are being asked to approve a detailed examination of the options for the council to build and sell affordable houses when they meet on Wednesday 20 April.
The move comes as the council considers the implications on the supply of affordable housing to buy and rent as a result of housing and planning bill.
The report to executive board – which can be read on the council’s website – summarises the impact of policies in the bill on people on the lowest incomes.
While the bill seeks to make home ownership more accessible, even starter homes could still be out of reach for some Leeds residents.
If recommendations in the report are approved, the council will assess the opportunities to build low cost, affordable homes for sale to provide more opportunities and help meet the needs and aspirations of people who struggle to buy their own home.
Councillor Debra Coupar, executive member for communities, said:
“We’re well aware of the pressure for one- and two-bedroom homes in the city.
“People on lower incomes want to get their feet on the property ladder but can’t so they turn to the private rented sector which now outstrips the number of council homes in Leeds.
“Work is continuing to provide rented accommodation through the council and other providers, but we need good, quality homes of all tenures that are truly affordable to meet the varying needs of our residents.
“If we can help by building affordable homes for sale to fill a gap not currently being met by other providers, then we need to fully explore the options.”
Councillor Richard Lewis, executive member for regeneration, transport and planning, said:
“Providing quality, affordable homes to buy and to rent in the right locations, is vital for the viability of the city. This is particularly important when we take into account the predicted economic and population growth in Leeds.
“We understand local housing needs and remain committed to investing in housing growth. This is despite the changes and restrictions we face with national policy changes coming through the housing and planning bill.”
Councillors agreed at full council in January this year that the authority remains committed to supporting the creating of affordable accommodation to buy and rent in Leeds.
The council is already well on the way to creating 1,000 new council homes by 2018, buying long-term empty properties to use as council homes and helping other social housing providers build around 650 new homes.
Money generated from right to buy properties is also being used as grant funding to registered providers to provide more housing and the council is developing housing specifically for older people to rent and shared ownership to meet long term needs.