Agenda item

Leeds Affordable Housing Growth Delivery Partnership Plan update


To receive an update from the Chief Officer (Asset Management and Regeneration) on progress delivered against the action plan by the Council and its partners over the last year alongside planned activity for the coming year.


The Chair introduced the item, noting that the delivery of affordable housing has been a long-standing priority for members of the Scrutiny Board.


Following the publication of the Leeds Affordable Housing Growth Partnership Action Plan in January 2023, the Scrutiny Board requested an update of progress against the action plan in 12 months’ time. The Chair noted that the report presented to members sets out that progress over the last year and provides an indication of activity for the next year.


Those in attendance for this item were:


·  Cllr H Hayden (Executive Member)

·  Cllr J Lennox (Executive Member)

·  Martin Elliott (Head of Strategic Planning)

·  Angela Barnicle (Chief Officer, Asset Management & Regeneration)

·  Adam Brannen (Head of Regeneration)

·  Tamsin Hart-Jones (Assistant Director, Homes England)

·  Matthew Walker (Chief Executive, Leeds Federated Housing Association)


Officers delivered a presentation, which began by setting out the context of household incomes and housing costs in Leeds. Members were advised of the current affordable housing need in Leeds and the affordable homes delivered between 2012/13 and 2022/23.


Pipeline projections for affordable housing delivery in Leeds between 2023 and 2027 were set out. Key challenges highlighted including the scale of demand for affordable housing, the number of homes lost through Right to Buy and increasing financial pressures due to rises in construction costs, inflation and interest rates.


Matthew Walker highlighted the strength of partnership working in Leeds, citing the recent development at Sugar Hill as an example of such work. He reiterated that the focus of Leeds Federated Housing Association is the people who need a home, rather than just the numbers of homes delivered.


Tamsin Hart-Jones set out the timeline for the development of a new strategic plan for Homes England, which will enable intervention focused on regeneration rather than housing supply in isolation. She highlighted the development of Points Cross on the South Bank in Leeds as a successful partnership effort to unlock housing growth.


Members sought clarification about the difference between social rent, affordable rent and submarket rent.


Noting the increased demand for social and affordable rented properties, members questioned how the Council can assure that it works with partners to secure the best social outcomes from projects, along with best value for money. Concern was expressed that partnership schemes may focus on maximising units on a site rather than maximising the affordability of units.


The Scrutiny Board was advised that officers seek to work with partners to maximise delivery within national financing frameworks, which can be complex. For example, Homes England funding cannot be blended with the proceeds of Right to Buy sales.


The Head of Strategic Planning advised members that the planning policy is informed by the evidence from the Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA), which considers future housing need and compares available housing with income levels, as well as factoring in what can be delivered on individual sites and challenges around viability. It is a complex challenge to deliver an affordable housing mix on each site.


The SHMA is in the process of being updated based on 2021 census data and will be considered by Development Plans Panel in early 2024.


It was noted that the Council’s priority is to provide affordable homes for those people in the lowest 25% of the income quartiles. The draft indications from the updated SHMA suggest a need for 53% of homes to be in the social rented sector with around 35% intermediate and the remainder affordable home ownership.


The process for using commuted sums to leverage funding from other sources was set out for the Scrutiny Board. Decisions focus on where available monies can be pooled and deployed to deliver best value. This model allows the delivery of social housing where partners would not otherwise be able to deliver those homes.


Matthew Walker reiterated that grants for building properties do not cover the cost of development so commuted sums can be used to make schemes viable. In response to member queries, he noted that registered providers often work across different geographical boundaries.


Additional issues raised by members included:


-  The way in which affordable housing targets are set for individual sites.


-  Emerging evidence of developers rephasing their sites to deliver more affordable housing at an earlier stage to meet demand.


-  Affordable housing delivery targets and historic backlogs.


-  How best to ensure there is local accountability regarding the types of properties delivered in communities.


-  The priority given to the delivery of shared ownership homes.


-  The provision of specialist housing e.g., for older people.


Officers outlined the future role of Leeds Local Plan 2040 in shaping the city’s response to housing need in the city, including demand for specialist provision for older people. Members requested an update on Leeds Local Plan 2040 early in the new municipal year.


The Executive Member acknowledged the scale of affordable housing need and the complexity of accessing and combining funding to maximise appropriate delivery. She highlighted the progress in delivery over recent years and thanked the team and the Council’s partners for their agile approach to this issue.


The importance of all partners being able to work closely with Government on this agenda was also highlighted.


Further information was provided in relation to Homes England Strategic Partnerships.




Members agreed to:


a)  Note the progress made by the Council and its partners in the delivery of the Action Plan.


b)  Receive a further update on the Action Plan in January 2025 to set out activity for the next plan period 2025-28.


c)  Receive an update on the Leeds Local Plan in the next municipal year.

Supporting documents: