Leeds City Council is reaffirming its commitment to council housing in the city and planning to build hundreds more new council homes – the largest number of homes to be brought to the city for 30 years.

As part of its ambition to be the best council in the UK, the council has identified a number of ways that it can bring new council housing to the city and also continue to maintain its current stock.
At a meeting of the council’s executive board next week (Wednesday 17 July), members will be asked to approve £40.623m to spend on a four year project to bring over 400 new council homes to the city.

There are several options available to achieve the increase in the number of council homes
– continuing the programme of new builds,
– off the shelf acquisitions which would give the council the opportunity to purchase properties, either built properties or from plan,
– the repurchase of Right To Buy properties where it represents value for money
– empty property acquisitions.

Alongside the delivery of new council homes, the council are also planning for the further growth of housing needed across the city in the future. This includes looking at the five year housing land supply, freeing up brownfield sites for the development of housing, and bringing empty properties back into use .

Councillor Keith Wakefield, Leader of Leeds City Council said:
“Providing affordable homes is absolutely vital for the viability of the City. Developing new Council housing, whether through new build or other methods of acquiring property, is a really positive way for us to meet housing need. It can also provide an opportunity for employment and training activities for people in Leeds.

“We are committed to making Leeds the Best City in the UK to live; using our resources in this way will take us another step closer to achieving our vision.”

Councillor Peter Gruen, Leeds City Council executive board member with responsibility for neighbourhoods, planning and support services said:
“We are completely committed to ensuring we meet the need for more council housing in the city.

“We have already had the fantastic news that the inner city Leeds PFI project has just been given the go ahead to bring 388 new homes to this area of Leeds, along with the refurbishment of a further 1245 council homes and we want to continue to build on this success.

“We know there is a need to bring more council housing to the city, and we have looked at a
number of possible ways that this can be achieved. It is the first time in a number of years that we have been able to deliver such a large number of council homes to our city. We have people on our council house waiting list needing new homes, and with the growth predicted within the city, we are well aware of the pressures being placed on social housing. Letting new properties leads to a higher income for the Council’s housing account. We can use this additional income to further invest in Council properties. I am committed to trying to encourage the sustainability of Council housing growth.

“We are already taking a proactive approach to meeting the city’s requirements for housing through land supply and direct investment in housing growth, for example we are already bringing 3000 empty properties back into use each year.”

Pro-active and forward-looking Labour government – even in these difficult times.

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