Kirklees Council misses house-building target by more than 500 homes

Kirklees Council missed its house-building target by more than 500 homes over the last three years, according to Government figures.

By Tony Earnshaw, Local Democracy Reporting Service
Saturday, 5th February 2022, 6:00 am
Land at Tithe House Way, Bradley, which has been allocated for housing
Land at Tithe House Way, Bradley, which has been allocated for housing

Statistics released through the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) via its housing delivery test reveal the number of houses required in Kirklees to be 1,682 in 2018-19, 1,534 in 2019-20, and 1,109 in 2020-21 – a total of 4,325.

But the authority delivered 1,594 houses in 2018-19, followed by 1,149 in 2019-20 and 1,021 in 2020-21 – a total of 3,764 or 87 per cent of the target.

The Housing Delivery Test 2021 is an annual measurement of housing delivery in the area of relevant plan-making authorities such as Kirklees Council.

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The DLUHC accepts that local authorities have been impacted by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and that the first national lockdown, announced on March 23, 2020, was “an unprecedented event” that saw “temporary disruption” to local authority planning services and the construction sector.

As a consequence it has reduced the “homes required” within the 2019 to 2020 year by a month and within the 2020 and 2021 year by four months in the Housing Delivery Test.

On the Government’s website it said: “Government interventions have however allowed house building and planning services to operate safely during the pandemic, such as the temporary extension of construction hours and greater flexibility to how the Planning Inspectorate operates appeals.”

Next month sees the three-year anniversary of the approval of Kirklees’ controversial Local Plan, which will see 31,000 homes delivered across the borough by 2031.

That has put planning committees under pressure to meet a Government-set quota by approving 1,730 homes every year to meet the target.

Last year the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) looked back through committee agendas since the adoption of the massive development blueprint on February 27, 2019.

It found 2,924 homes of various shapes and sizes had been green-lit in the district.

However some applications – such as that by Harron Homes for 131 houses on a 10-acre site off Crossley Lane at Dalton in Huddersfield – have since been withdrawn.

On its adoption during a chaotic and bad-tempered debate, senior Labour councillor Peter McBride described the Local Plan – which will use 200 sites across Kirklees – as “a complex, finely-crafted piece of work costing many millions” that would “guarantee the future of this borough for a generation”.

In 2020 Coun McBride said the council was on track to build 10,000 new homes in the borough by 2023.