Housing Issues


Thirty years ago the council owned about half the housing stock in Kirkstall ward, including high-rise and maisonette accomodation and a substantial number of back-to-back "miscellaneous" properties, some dating from Victorian or Edwardian times. Around half of these properties were subsquently sold under right to buy legislation. Tenants mostly purchased traditional family homes in the most desirable locations.

5M houses in the Woodbridges seen from Queenswood Heights

Residents often express concern about the lack of affordable family housing. Private landlords have acquired much of the local housing stock, including many former council properties. They have converted many of these houses into highly profitable short term rented accommodation for an increasingly transient population. Many people see this as a threat to local communities: the lack of housing for families with children undermines local schools, and initiates the spiral of decline seen in parts of the adjacent Headingley Ward. House prices are largely determined by market forces, and local political intervention has only minor effects. There is an ongoing local debate as to what, if anything, can or should be done about this situation.

The Government made 76 million pounds available to improve the remaining public housing stock in NW Leeds. Phase 7 of the whole house improvement programme was completed in October 2008. Phase 8 which includes windows, doors, kitchens, bathrooms and re-wiring to properties in Lea Farm Drive, Grove, Road and Row should start in November and be finished in April 2009.

Unfortunately the Tory / Lib Dem adminstration has so mismanaged the council budget that the council recently had to borrow 11,500,000 from the Arms Length Management Companies (ALMOs) which administer all the council houses in the city. This has seriously damaged the program, and will result in some tenants getting far less than they expected. Essential work required under the Disability Discrimination Act is also being delayed.

Download an official summary prepared by the council about the financial situation.

See for yourself! Click here to examine the complete Executive Board Papers for 8 October 2008 on the Leeds City Council website. [The capital program is minute 98.] Download the capital program report and Appendix A which summarises the position.

Last updated 15 February 2009 at 10:30. Back to the top

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Promoted by John Illingworth, 37 Kirkwood Way, Leeds LS16 7EU