03 Jan 2019

Government inspectors reiterate support for Leeds Site Allocations Plan

Housing Planning

Two independent government-appointed inspectors have indicated further support for Leeds City Council’s plan for future housing, green space and development in the city.

Inspectors Claire Sherratt DIP URP MRTPI and Louise Gibbons BA Hons MRTPI, have today issued their initial views and potential Main Modifications to the Site Allocations Plan (SAP) for Leeds, which identifies locations for new housing and development to meet the future needs of the city.

The views indicate that the plan and the allocations set out in it for employment, green space and retail are appropriate and ‘sound’, and with regard to housing the council’s overall direction has been accepted.

In planning for housing growth up to 2023, the inspectors have indicated that fewer green belt sites need to be released, with two proposed sites at Parlington and Stourton Grange to now not be considered for development in that time. The plan therefore meets government requirements as it reflects local evidence and is considered to be legally compliant, subject to a number of Main Modifications being consulted on and possibly amended.

The inspectors’ comments include:

· In reflecting the downward housing trajectory, planning for housing growth to 2023 is a sound approach

· The inspectors have accepted the council’s approach to maximise the use of brownfield land, whilst minimising the release of greenfield and green belt land for development,

· The council’s approach to safeguarded land is sound

· The council’s approach to coordinating and providing for infrastructure, associated with the SAP’s proposals (and site requirements) is necessary and appropriate.

The inspectors’ report is based on their considerations following 16 days of public examination hearings on the plan which were held earlier this year with the views of more than 470 participants heard, as well as more than 50,000 written comments.

The modifications identified will now be subject to a six-week period of consultation, to be carried out after the council’s executive board discusses the issue at a meeting on Monday 14 January.

Comments received on the modifications will be considered directly by the inspectors before they prepare their final conclusions and report with the plan then expected to be recommended for formal adoption.

Leeds City Council executive member for regeneration, transport and planning Councillor Richard Lewis said:

“We are grateful to the inspectors and, subject to a number of Main Modifications, are delighted they have indicated our Site Allocation Plan is sound, especially our approach to housing growth to 2023 and focus on green belt protection.

“We look forward to discussing this key issue at executive board and then the consultation on the proposed modifications as we hopefully move towards the end of this process with a plan adopted to guide future growth in a sustainable way bringing an end to speculative development in Leeds.”

Leeds City Council chair of the development plan panel Councillor Peter Gruen said:

“The receipt of the inspectors’ view and Main Modifications is a key milestone in moving towards adopting the plan and giving much-needed certainty to communities and investors across the district as to how our city will grow in the future. A sound plan will mean we can demonstrate a five-year land supply and that greatly strengthen our position against speculative and premature development.”

Notes to editors:

A fully approved and adopted Site Allocations Plan is critical to ensure that the council has control over its five-year housing land supply and can avoid speculative development. The current Site Allocations Plan sets out a requirement for 66,000 new homes in Leeds from 2012-2028, as agreed in the Core Strategy adopted in 2014. The inspectors have suggested that the council only needs to provide for housing needs up to 2023. This will require the council to review the Site Allocations Plan by no later than 2023 to address housing needs after this date, but this will now be done after the Core Strategy Selective Review is adopted.

The Core Strategy Selective Review, which is running separately but in parallel to the Site Allocations Plan, is considering the 66,000 overall housing target for allocations based on the latest evidence. It is expected to be subject to public examination in February, with a recommendation being to revise the housing target for allocations down to 46,352 new homes in Leeds between 2017 and 2033.


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