Leeds could miss out on thousands of affordable new homes because of the way Leeds City Council proposes to distribute building.
Research from planning and design consultancy Barton Willmore shows the Council’s site allocation plan for new homes seriously impacts the level of affordable homes that will be delivered from new developments.
Affordable homes are defined as homes that cost no more than 80 per cent of the average local market rent or are sold at 20 per cent below the market rate.
Stuart Natkus, planning director at Barton Willmore, explained: “We’ve looked carefully at the Council’s site allocation plan.
“So far it has meant more than 40 per cent of all new homes in Leeds are being built in the city centre and inner areas – but developers in these areas are only required to deliver a small proportion of affordable homes on their sites, normally five per cent but proposed to be seven per cent as part of the Core Strategy Review.
“This increase at the expense of homes in areas providing a higher proportion of affordable homes will seriously lower the amount of affordable housing delivered overall in Leeds.”
Leeds’ Core Strategy frustrates the issue as it distributes housing across lower affordable housing zones – typically in the city centre whereas zones outside of the city have up to 35 per cent affordable housing.
Barton Willmore’s analysis also looks at the “viability” of sites.
A site is viable if there is a profitable return for the developer once all costs have been taken into account.
Stuart added: “Looking at the Council’s own data we can see it’s unlikely developers will be able to build seven per cent affordable housing on their city centre and inner-city schemes.
“This will lower the amount even further.
“At the moment, areas such as Wetherby, Harewood, Alwoodley, Otley, Yealdon, Wharfedale and Guiseley – or “zone 1” – are the only areas consistently viable for developers to deliver affordable housing.
“Leeds City Council may need to consider funding to support other areas.
“The Council will be reviewing its site allocations plan at the end of this year and we hope it will take the opportunity to redress the imbalance in affordable homes by allocating more sites outside of the city centre.”