Kirklees Council is set to sell five plots of housing land to a developer for less than the market value to ensure scores of “affordable” homes are built for rent.

The council’s Cabinet is set to agree to sell the land to Thirteen Group which could build a total of around 200 homes – 85% of which would be classed as “affordable.”

The council says the five sites, including one off Netheroyd Hill Road in the Fixby area, will be sold for less than they would get on the open market.

If they sold to a private housebuilder they could only insist on 20% of the houses being “affordable.” This way the council gets a say in the type of houses built.

The council says there is a need for 1,730 new homes in Kirklees every year, of which 1,049 need to be “affordable.”

The five sites are:

  • Highmoor Lane, Hartshead;
  • Main Avenue, Cowlersley;
  • Mayman Lane, Batley;
  • Heckmondwike Road, Dewsbury;
  • Netheroyd Hill, Fixby.

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

Across the sites the proposal is to include a mix of shared ownership, intermediate rent and affordable rent homes alongside a small number which will be sold on the market.

The initial proposals suggest that around 85% of properties built will be affordable homes.

The council says the combined plans would create 700 direct jobs and around 400 indirect jobs. Local suppliers will be used wherever possible.

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

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.

Clr Graham Turner

Clr 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 onsite.

“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.”