Published: 19th June 2015

The sites that Leeds City Council propose will accommodate the City’s development needs over the next 13 years have now been published in draft form.

Following the general endorsement of sites to be allocated for employment, greenspace and retail last week by the Council’s Development Plans Panel, the proposed housing allocations were published yesterday in advance of a further Development Plans Panel on 26th June. Subject to ratification at the Council’s Executive Board on 15th July a combined Site Allocations Plan Publication Draft (SAPPD) will undergo a six week consultation in the Autumn.

This will be the final consultation stage prior to submission of the document to the Secretary of State for Examination. Adoption is not, however, anticipated until 2017 at the earliest.

Highlighted below are some of the key issues arising from the draft for housing and employment allocations:

Housing

 

  • The SAPPD identifies land sufficient to accommodate the adopted Core Strategy (CS) target of 70,000 (net) homes by 2028, despite this level of need being queried in light of recent population projections. The Council do, however, propose a phasing strategy to enable flexibility and respond to potential changes in overall requirements.
  • The CS set out the target distribution for the number of dwellings identified in each Housing Market Area (HMA), though the SAPPD proposes some notable variances from these targets, including around 3000 unit oversupply in the City Centre and Inner Area HMAs.

Housing Market By Housing Characteristics

  • Combined with the proposed allocation of the new settlement at Headley Hall (Bramham) and a proposal to meet housing needs at Thorpe Arch, there are significant reductions in site allocations required in the ‘outer areas’ , reducing pressure on sensitive Green Belt sites and villages. The proposed phasing strategy also proposes to hold back around 60 site in smaller settlements and greenfield ‘extensions’.
  • However, despite increasing the contribution that brownfield land in central areas can make to the overall requirement, the total supply of housing on brownfield land is only 52%, below the Core Strategy target of 65% for the first five years of the plan and 55% for the remainder of the plan period.
  • The Plan includes some Green Belt review in certain areas despite areas previously identified as Protected Areas of Search being retained as such rather than being allocated for housing.
  • The Council are aware that they have an existing and growing shortfall of elderly and retirement dwellings, to this end a number of the proposed housing allocations have been identified as appropriate to contribute towards meeting these needs (based on arbitrary accessibility to services criteria) and providing a proportion of new dwellings this end will become a policy requirement on these sites.

Employment

 

  • In addition to the accommodation of housing at Thorpe Arch, there is a proposed major reduction in allocated employment land in light of the view that employment use is not viable on a large part of the site. The decrease in allocated employment land at this site has led to a deficiency in available land allocated for industrial use against the requirements set out within the CS throughout the City.
  • The Council propose to make up for this deficiency through a major release of Green Belt at Leeds Bradford Airport for new employment land, although the evidence base for this proposal has not yet been determined!

Summary

 

The Council themselves are unlikely to make substantive changes to the draft SAPPD prior to submission to the Secretary of State. However, any site submissions or representations to the content of the draft plan will be put before the Inspector and considered on an independent basis at Examination in Public. There remains therefore scope to influence the content of the plan.

Quod can advise on the nature and implications of any proposed site allocations (or omission of any sites). Please speak to your usual Quod North contact or hellonorth@quod.com.