West Yorkshire Housing Partnership reaches major milestone
Members of the Council met with Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire, and other members of the West Yorkshire Housing Partnership this week as they published their first annual report. The report highlights the important work being done to put housing front and centre across the region.
What does the West Yorkshire Housing Partnership do?
We have been proud members of the partnership since it was formed in 2020.
The group was created to work with the first directly elected mayor, the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and local authorities to ensure the need for affordable homes in West Yorkshire is met. Also, to ensure housing is a priority for the region following the devolution deal agreed with the government.
The housing sector continues to face challenges caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Despite this, the partnership secured over 2,000 affordable homes for West Yorkshire last year. The partnership is already working to deliver a further over 5,000 new homes over the next two years.
How many new council homes have been developed in Kirklees?
Across Kirklees, 76 new council homes have been developed in 2021/22 for those in need. A further 78 new homes planned for 2022/23. A total of 24 former council properties have also been returned to our housing stock this year through our BuyBack scheme.
What are the key ambitions of the partnership?
Building new homes is one of the key ambitions of the partnership. Alongside tackling the climate emergency, regenerating local areas, connecting people to economic opportunity, and supporting health, care and homelessness.
While we are heavily involved in all five of these key areas, working to tackle homelessness is a particular focus. Naz Parkar, Director of Homes and Neighbourhoods at Kirklees Council, is the ‘Chief Executive Sponsor’ for this area and has led on this area of work so far.
What’s been done so far?
Over the past year, work has been done to review the current provision for homelessness across the region. Looking at trends over the past few years, and examining what’s working and what isn’t. This work will continue over the next year. The partnership will look at ways to plug gaps and work with existing services more effectively.
Tackling the climate emergency
The report also highlights the partnership’s work to tackle the climate emergency.
Alongside the need to build more affordable homes, decarbonisation is one the biggest challenges facing the housing sector. Over one third of the energy supply in West Yorkshire being used in people’s homes. The past twelve months have seen the West Yorkshire Housing Partnership collate data on the current energy efficiency of their properties. This has led to a joint bid to the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund.
Regeneration across West Yorkshire
Regeneration is also high up on the agenda for the partnership, making good use of disused or derelict land.
Members have so far delivered over 450 homes on derelict areas across West Yorkshire. This includes the regeneration of the former iron works in Boothtown, Halifax, creating 46 new homes, the construction of over 100 affordable family homes on the Beech Hill estate.
Also in Halifax and 266 homes on brownfield sites that Leeds City Council are delivering across the district with a construction value of £57.5m.
Helen Lennon, Chair of the West Yorkshire Housing Partnership, said:
“When the partnership formed a year ago, we pledged to work with the directly elected mayor, the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and local authorities to achieve five integrated ambitions that put affordable and sustainable housing high on the agenda following the devolution deal agreed with the Government in March 2020.
“We’ve already secured over 2000 affordable homes for West Yorkshire, and we have plans in place to deliver thousands more over the current mayoral term.
“We’re going to build on the strong foundations we’ve put in place over the last year. We look forward to continuing to work with the mayor to help her achieve her pledges. We’ll also continue to harness the benefits from our longstanding working relationships with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and Local Authorities to deliver even more.
“It’s going to be a busy year, but we’re really excited at the energy and commitment that has developed since the partnership was formed. We’ll continue to place housing front and centre in the plans for West Yorkshire.”
Councillor Cathy Scott, Member of Cabinet for Homes & Neighbourhoods, said:
“We’re proud that Kirklees has played such a pivotal role in shaping how we work together to tackle important issues such as homelessness, and address the supply and quality of housing across the region.
“We’re pleased to see this partnership working together to focus on a number of key areas. Such as tackling climate emergency, building more housing and addressing the link between health and housing.
“Improving lives is among our key priorities. We hope the work done here continues to make a difference to the communities we serve.”
Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire, said:
“As someone who grew up in a council flat in Birstall, I understand the value of a safe, affordable and secure home. That’s why I’m committed to delivering 5000 affordable and sustainable homes over my mayoral term.
“The report launched today highlights all the fantastic work being done by the West Yorkshire Housing Partnership and I’m really proud to support their ambitious and much-needed work. By working together, we can ensure the housing sector meets the needs of the people of West Yorkshire; and I look forward to developing an inclusive housing strategy that works for everyone across our region.”
What happens next?
Over the next year, the partnership will continue to work with the Local Authority Directors of Development. The work will identify a shared development pipeline. They also plan to look at combining their skills, expertise and purchasing power to invest in solar PV and battery storage technology. This will help make West Yorkshire the green capital of the UK.
Read the report
You can read the full report online.