Locations of 66,000 homes unveiled

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Nearly 7,000 homes are set to be built across the Outer South West area of Leeds after final proposals on the location of 66,000 new builds in the city for the next 13 years were drawn up.

The district which includes Morley, as well as Beeston and Middleton, will account for around a tenth of the new houses, with villages such as Drighlington, East Ardsley and Robin Hood part of a group of seven small settlements that will share just over 3,000 of the new builds.

Less than a fifth of the new homes in the South West will be formed from brownfield sites, with 78 per cent being created on greenfield and green belt land.

Leeds City Council said that the plans, which will be debated by councillors next week, were fair and a necessary measure in a bid to accommodate the city’s growing population.

Coun Peter Gruen, the council’s executive member for neighbourhoods and planning, said: “Providing 66,000 new homes is a challenging ambition but one in line with the city’s aim to be the best in the UK. People will be interested to see how much is being proposed in their area, but I would say we have tried to be fair across the city, with a clear policy on brownfield sites being used first and bringing back into use existing empty buildings in order to help protect the green belt.”

The homes plan, which forms part of the council’s Core Strategy, has been criticised for its high target with concerns that the number of houses proposed to be built by 2028 may be unreachable. However, Coun Gruen said that the figures could be redefined during the process.

He said: “We are monitoring very closely and I predict that within three years we will do a review of the plan based on the experience we’ve had up to then, and whether the assumptions we’ve made based on National Statistics and local variations are still sound then we will take amended proposals forward.

“We’re not wedged in any way to a particular set of figures; we’re just trying to work our way through what is a very demanding and challenging agenda.”

A total of 763 sites have been earmarked for potential development. In Morley itself, just over 900 homes are expected to be formed on new sites, with 1,182 being built as part of extensions to existing housing estates.

Coun Tom Leadley said: “We maintain that the overall total of houses in Leeds is unrealistic and that the allocation for the South West of city is unreasonable.

“The green belt in Morley is precious as it stops West Yorkshire merging into one big blob like Greater Manchester and it sets us apart from Wakefield and Kirklees.

“I proposed a housing target of between 35 - 40,000, so we’re not nimbies protesting against every single house that appears; we’re simply opposing what we think is an unreasonable target.”