Region airs concern on housing targets

Yorkshire and Humber may struggle to meet higher housing targets proposed by the government in changes to the draft regional spatial strategy (RSS), it has emerged.

The proposals, published last week, would see housing growth increase by almost 50 per cent to more than 22,000 homes a year between 2008 and 2026.

The independent examination panel had advised the same figure but from 2011 to 2021 (Planning, 11 May, p4). The draft RSS proposed 15,160 homes a year between 2004 and 2011 with later increases up to 19,120.

Yorkshire and Humber Assembly planning board chairman Steve Galloway told Planning: "Leeds and Bradford were already having difficulty accommodating the housing targets in the draft RSS. They will be tearing their hair out now."

Bradford City Council group planning manager Andrew Marshall maintained that the changes that have been proposed amount to a "considerable" increase.

"We also have ongoing concerns over issues such as the timescale, necessary infrastructure and potential changes to the green belt," he explained.

Leeds City Council head of planning and economic policy David Feeney said it is still considering the implications of the figures.

Galloway added: "We will be looking very carefully at the implications of the document. We hope that the government will be flexible because some of the figures are over-ambitious." The proposed changes now face a 12-week consultation.

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