New affordable housing plans at sites in Batley, Dewsbury and Hartshead

Kirklees Council's cabinet is set to review proposals aimed at creating more affordable housing and energy efficient homes in the district.

By Dominic Brown
Thursday, 30th June 2022, 12:30 pm

The proposals focus on five sites across the district which, should cabinet approve the plans, will be sold to Kirklees Council’s strategic partner Thirteen Group for development, in line with the council’s Local Plan.

The development of these sites by Thirteen Group would focus on maximising the number of affordable homes provided, and making sure all housing is energy efficient.

The sites would contribute to local housing growth and to the council’s green agenda.

Thirteen Group is looking to include a variety of modern methods of construction, as well as low carbon heating and heat recovery systems, solar panels, electric vehicle (EV) charging points and low energy light circuits

The five sites are:

Heckmondwike Road, Dewsbury.

Highmoor Lane, Hartshead.

Main Avenue, Cowlersley.

Mayman Lane, Batley.

Netheroyd Hill, Fixby.

Approval was previously given at cabinet in August 2018 for these sites to be included in a programme of housing development.

Should plans for the partnership with Thirteen Group be approved on July 5, each site will be taken forward for planning individually.

Across the sites the proposal is to include a mix of shared ownership, intermediate rent and affordable rent homes alongside a small number of market sale houses.

The initial proposals for the sites suggest that around 85 per cent of properties built will be affordable homes.

To make sure these homes are also energy efficient – in line with the council’s aims to make Kirklees carbon neutral by 2038 – Thirteen Group is looking to include a variety of modern methods of construction, as well as low carbon heating and heat recovery systems, solar panels, electric vehicle (EV) charging points and low energy light circuits.

The local economy is also a large factor in the proposed plans, with a commitment to providing employment and apprenticeship opportunities, utilising local supply chains wherever possible.

A "Kirklees Community Fund" would also be created for the five sites, with a minimum of £10,000 per site to be focused on benefitting nearby communities.

Thirteen Group’s proposals would result in it making less profit from these sites than a volume housebuilder might make, as the proposed 85 per cent affordable housing is well above the Local Plan’s policy of 20 per cent.

To enable the scheme to be delivered, it is likely that the council will be required to sell these five sites to Thirteen Group at “less than best consideration”.

If plans are approved, Thirteen Group will begin preparing to submit planning applications for each individual site, then aim to begin staged construction work next year, with a target of completing development on all five sites by the end of 2025.

Coun Graham Turner, cabinet member for growth and regeneration, said: “I’m really excited about this scheme, and to be working with Thirteen Group to provide much-needed housing for residents on five sites located across the district.

"As a strategic partner of Homes England, Thirteen Group bring with them both funding and expertise, and I look forward to seeing these energy efficient homes starting on-site.

“I hope that this first scheme with the Thirteen Group is only the start of a strategic partnership that will continue to bring much-needed energy efficient homes to Kirklees, helping us address the housing shortage we currently face and reducing our carbon footprint – as well as reducing energy costs for those living in these new homes.”

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