Council leading drive for affordable, accessible housing
The building blocks to provide enough affordable, accessible housing which will make Leeds the best city to live in are in place.
That’s the conclusion of a report being presented to senior councillors this week.
The report to executive board on Wednesday March 18 reaffirms the council’s commitment to providing quality, accessible and affordable housing that is critical to sustainable economic growth.
To ensure this is achieved the report also calls on all the council’s partners to work together and overcome any obstacles so the city’s varied housing needs can be met.
The four cornerstones of the council’s commitment are the city’s planning framework; the new Leeds Standard; re-using brownfield land first and directing the council’s resources in the most efficient way to get results.
With the different roles the council has – as a landowner, as an organisation that buys in services to provide housing and as planning authority – it’s ideally situated to bring multiple benefits to communities with affordable homes and jobs for young people.
Councillor Peter Gruen, executive member for neighbourhoods, planning and personnel, said:
“Housing is central to our lives. It’s therefore imperative that we champion housing quality while enabling homes to be built that meet the needs of communities.
“It will take a continued, co-ordinated effort from developers, housing providers, the third sector and landlords lead by the council to ensure we have suitable, affordable and energy efficient housing to meet Leeds’ needs now and in the future.”
“Even with a significant period of growth, there still won’t be enough new affordable homes to meet needs in Leeds. This is the challenge we’re meeting head on with the foundations for housing and economic growth in place. In doing so, we’re firmly grasping the opportunity to create jobs for local and young people.”
Councillor Richard Lewis, executive member for transport and the economy, said:
“Nurturing a healthy economy remains a priority and growth in construction and housing will give the economy a boost and create jobs. To allow the city to grow and prosper in a sustainable way, we need to facilitate and provide a housing market which offers choice and availability.
“The roles we play are key to making sure this growth turns into real opportunities for local people and businesses in the shape of jobs, income and economic growth which will improve and regenerate the city.”
The planning framework allows the council to determine appropriate locations with the right mix of housing and supporting community infrastructure and green space.
The Leeds Standard will demonstrate excellent design, suitable and flexible space and energy efficiency that will set a benchmark for quality.
The council will continue to pursue re-development of previously used land and empty properties and use the skills and expertise of staff to speed up the delivery of housing by acting as a facilitator.
Meeting the city’s housing need is a huge challenge given the current economic and market conditions. Housing is needed to reflect a huge range of needs and incomes, whether that be for students, couples, families or an increasing older population.
The council has already embarked upon an ambitious council house building programme. Along with homes being built as part of the housing regeneration project, around 1,000 council homes with a combined investment of £120 million will be provided.
In addition, the council will continue to work with housing providers who are expected to provide around 600 affordable homes up to 2018.
To encourage providers, the council is using money from right to buy sales to part-fund social and affordable rented housing with around 60 units of accommodation already in the pipeline.
Through the process of building its own homes and enabling others to provide housing, the council will help secure jobs in the construction industry and supply chain.
For media enquiries please contact:
Amanda Burns, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 395 1577