Leeds Core Strategy ‘masterplan’ ready for final approval

Two major planning proposals which will underpin all future development and growth in Leeds are set to be put before the city’s councillors for their final approval.

The Core Strategy, which will provide a 15-year masterplan for all housing growth and development in the city, and the introduction of a new Community Infrastructure Levy on new developments will be discussed by Leeds City Council’s executive board next week (Wednesday 17 September) at Civic Hall.

If the executive board gives its approval, the proposals will then be referred to November’s meeting of the full council where they will be voted on being officially adopted by the city. Both proposals have been developed following an extensive consultation process with the public and all stakeholders, with the final preparation stage being analysis and approval from a Government-appointed inspector and examiner, which has now been received.

If adopted, the Core Strategy, which has been developed in several stages since 2006, would become the principal planning and development guide for the entire Leeds district.

Its core principles now approved by the Government inspector Mr Anthony Thickett are:

- Providing 70,000 new homes in the Leeds district up to 2028, at an agreed rate of 3,660 a year in the initial years

- Within that 70,000 is a commitment to a significant proportion of new affordable housing

- A strong focus on building on brownfield sites in order to promote regeneration and protect the greenbelt

- Fairness across the city, in terms of all parts of the city accepting some new housing

- Where possible to bring long-term empty homes back into use

- Respecting and retaining community identities and character, rejecting possible suburban sprawl

- Infrastructure of services around new developments, such as schools and health services to be carried out in a manageable and sustainable way

- Supporting regeneration and environmental enhancement

Should approval for the Core Strategy be given at both executive board and then full council in November, it would be adopted and brought into force immediately.

Leader of Leeds City Council Councillor Keith Wakefield said:

“This is a highly significant step towards making Leeds the best city to live and work in the UK. I am delighted that the Core Strategy can now be taken to executive board and full council for a vote on its adoption.

“The strategy will make a massive difference as it will provide a modern forward-thinking blueprint for all future growth in terms of housing, job creation, development and the economy in a sustainable way. It has taken a long time to get to this point involving a lot of people and a lot of hard work, but it needed to be done right and it’s great that we are now almost there.”

Fitting within the Core Strategy framework, the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) would be introduced from April 2015 as a new way of collecting contributions from developers for infrastructure facilities such as transport, education, the Leeds Flood Alleviation scheme or greenspace. It has been driven by changes to the existing Section 106 regulations which come into force in April.

Leeds City Council executive member for neighbourhoods, planning and personnel Councillor Peter Gruen said:

“The Core Strategy represents our ambitions for Leeds right through to 2028. At each stage of its development, the Core Strategy has been the subject of extensive consultations and it has been illuminating to hear from so many different views. This has led us to the position where we are close to having an adopted strategy - a real achievement for Leeds.

“As with the Core Strategy, it has been vitally important that we get the Community Infrastructure Levy right with charging levels appropriate to attract investors but also to help us pay for vital infrastructure improvements in Leeds.

“We are pleased the examiner supported what we are proposing and that we can now take the plan on for full council to decide on. Together these two proposals will offer a strong lead for all future development across Leeds.”

Consultation on the Core Strategy has taken place with the public, councillors, developers and representatives of the construction industries, community groups, parish councils, Leeds Civic Trust, Leeds Chamber of Commerce, the Environment Agency, the Highways Agency and neighbouring local authorities in the wider Leeds City Region.

The Community Infrastructure Levy for Leeds, including a draft charging schedule with rates varying depending on the type of development being proposed and the area of the city it is proposed in, has similarly been developed after consultation with all key stakeholders and the public.

The final version of the CIL policy, including the charging schedule and list of projects or types of infrastructure which the levy could be used for, is now ready for approval after also being assessed by Mr Thickett.

For more information on the Core Strategy and Community Infrastructure Levy including the inspector and examiner’s reports visit www.leeds.gov.uk


For media enquiries please contact:

Roger Boyde,

Leeds City Council press office,

Email: roger.boyde@leeds.gov.uk