Guest post: Leeds City Council fight losing battle on NPPF, again

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Bob May, is the Leeds office director of planning consultancy Turley Associates

It was disappointing to read that Leeds City Council has decided to come down against the draft National Planning Policy Framework, treading the same well-worn and misguided path as the National Trust.

Leeds City Council claim that the proposed overhaul of the planning regime will result in increased development on green field sites and the Green Belt regardless of the wishes of local people, when all evidence is to the contrary.

Local people want and need housing.  There is a widely acknowledged shortfall in Leeds and Yorkshire.  In 2010 just 8,620 new homes where completed against an annual need 27,000 – a shortfall of 18,380.  New housing numbers are no better this year.  It is not surprising that Yorkshire has the highest proportion of households (11.7%) on housing waiting lists of any region in the country.

In Leeds, the City Council has proposed a housing requirement of just 2,260 a year, significantly less than the regional plan requirement of 4,300, which some experts believe is an underestimate of the likely level of demand.  The Council’s policy of resisting applications on green field sites has been overturned on six occasions in the past two years by the High Court and independent inspectors – most recently with schemes at Allerton Bywater, Guisley and Boston Spa, where inspectors actually awarded costs against the Council.  

Local authorities are under ever tighter financial constraints and Leeds City Council would be better spending its resources in delivering a credible local plan that outlines what type of development it would like to see and where, rather that fighting appeals that it cannot win.

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About Nadia Elghamry

Data Editor and deputy Regional Editor at Estates Gazette with more than 15 years experience in business journalism. I currently look after Property in Numbers and the month in numbers section of the magazine as well as drawing out stories from the numbers for every section of the magazine. As deputy regional features, working on the Focus features section of the magazine, hosting our receptions around the country and writing for the Focus blog.

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