Leeds seeks delay to housing sites examination to mull standardised methodology impact

Leeds City Council has said it intends to delay the examination of the housing element of its emerging sites allocations plan (SAP) to allow it time to consider the implications of the government's proposed standardised housing need methodology.

Leeds: council seeks more time to assess impact of new housing need formula (pic: Mark Stevenson via Flickr)
Leeds: council seeks more time to assess impact of new housing need formula (pic: Mark Stevenson via Flickr)

Last month, the government published a consultation on its proposed standardised housing need methodology. 

In a statement today, Leeds City Council said that the proposed new formula would mean that the city would be likely to see a reduction in its housing target.

"The impact of the new methodology is that some local authorities will have much higher targets than before, whilst others, including Leeds, have a lower target. Using these new figures, the basic housing requirement for Leeds up to 2028 is 42,000 new homes," the statement said.

In July, the council said that initial conclusions from a review of its key core strategy planning document showed evidence of a figure of around 55,000 new homes being needed. The core strategy, adopted in 2014, identifies a requirement for 70,000 new homes in the city up to 2028.

The council said that it now intends to "undertake further technical work to consider the implications of the latest evidence and the revised government approach to housing need".

The public examination of the SAP, which allocates land across the city for future housing, retail, employment and green space, was due to begin next week.

However, the council said it has now "contacted the SAP inspectors to continue with the public examination, but with a revised schedule". This would see the retail, employment and green space proposals considered now, with the housing element examined in February and March 2018.

Leeds City Council executive member for regeneration, transport and planning Richard Lewis said: "The government’s latest consultation proposals came out of the blue for all local authorities and we need to take the time to fully consider their implications. They are also, at this stage, part of a consultation and not necessarily the final word from government.

"The timing of the government’s announcement has meant that the public examination schedule is likely to be revised and we apologise for any inconvenience this unforeseen change may cause for participants. It is vitally important for the examination to continue, which is why we are committed to proceeding.

"Given the significance of the housing element, we are taking the appropriate and responsible step of reviewing the latest information fully in order to provide our communities and potential investors with certainty to protect our green belt from development and to be fair to all parts of the city."

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