Responding to the publication of the Government’s Housing White Paper, West Yorkshire Combined Authority Chair Cllr Peter Box said:
“The Government’s long-overdue acknowledgement that the housing market is broken has to be welcomed.
“As does its recognition that we need plan for a diverse range of homes that meet people’s needs are built in the right places and are built faster.
“Our Strategic Economic Plan to deliver sustainable growth across the City Region stresses the need for housing growth across tenures, age and price and we have identified a number of challenges in the Leeds City Region housing market. These include a rising need for affordable housing while building rates remain below requirements, fewer small and medium employers (SMEs) developing new housing and the complexity of major development sites is delaying the delivery of homes.
“Forty percent of the Leeds City Region’s 1.3 million homes need energy efficiency improvements to help tackle fuel poverty and poor health and restrictions on council budgets mean the public sector is increasingly incapable of supporting housing development.
“We are already using our £1bn West Yorkshire Plus Transport Fund and Growth Deal funding to develop initiatives that have opened up land for new homes which are now being built."
“We will be studying the details of the White paper and look forward to seeing the details of how Communities and Local Government Minister Sajid Javid and his colleagues plan to work with us to address Leeds City Region’s housing needs, in the context of our ambitions for a significant devolution of housing powers and investment.”
Measures in the White Paper, published by the Government on Tuesday 7 February, include giving local authorities the tools to speed up house building as well as powers to make sure developers build homes on time. The government says it will make it easier for councils to issue completion notices, reducing the timescales to require developers to start building from three to two year, once planning permission is granted.
The White Paper also says the Government is committed to building more affordable homes including Rent to Buy homes and shared ownership, as well as tackiling the high cost of renting by making longer-tenancies become widely available.
Cllr Box added: “This White Paper shows that by recommending greater certainties in the planning process for local authorities intending to build new homes and better targeting of the Housing Infrastructure Fund, making renting fairer for tenants and planning for future housing needs, the Government has recognised the seriousness of the housing crisis on a national scale.
Download the Housing White Paper (PDF opens in new tab)