Developers will have to come forward with more plans for smaller houses in order to meet housing needs in the city in future, a panel of councillors has heard, writes Richard Beecham.
A meeting of Leeds City Council’s infrastructure scrutiny board was told changing the behaviour of the development industry was ‘like turning round an oil tanker’, but added that improvements were being made on housing mix.
The city has desired ‘housing mix’ targets, where certain proportions of one one, two, three and four-plus bedroom housing are required.
However, Leeds is not meeting those targets, as the meeting heard developers often submit plans ‘skewed’ towards three and four bedroom houses, despite smaller properties being needed.
Chairing the meeting, Coun Paul Truswell (Lab, Middleton) asked how planning chiefs could meet the ‘two extremes’ of housing need and the desires of developers.
A council officer responded:
“It’s very hard. We will always see developers coming in with housing developments that are skewed towards three and four-bedroom houses.
“The development industry is like turning a large oil tanker around. It’s come as a shock to them that we are proposing a policy with a greater mix.”
Leeds City Council’s housing mix policy, known as H4, sets a target for 50 per cent of new houses to have two bedrooms. But the percentage of new two bedroom houses has never risen above 29 per cent for any of the past seven years.
The officer added:
“One thing for members to remember is that a lot of these schemes were in the pipeline for some time. There is a bit of legacy of some of these schemes working through the process.
“Where we have new schemes coming in, we are being very clear that this is somewhere where policy has to be adopted.”