As part of its commitment to significantly increase the number of affordable new homes in the district, Wakefield Council is meeting later this month to explore the possibility of once again becoming a provider of rented housing.

In 2005 the council disposed of its housing stock through a Large Scale Voluntary Transfer (LSVT) to Wakefield and District Housing (WDH) but at the cabinet meeting on March 16 will assess the feasibility work and consider the financial and land options around restarting a house-building programme.

Should the Council choose to proceed, once the full business case is completed, it could consider sites to develop, including a 7.5 acre site, already earmarked for affordable housing, at Farm Lane in Kinsley, which could provide around 90 homes.

Coun Denise Jeffery, Leader of Wakefield Council, said “I am proud and excited that we are taking this bold step forward towards our goal of delivering public rented housing in this district.

“Local people in our district need high quality housing that is not only affordable, but tenancies that are secure and the wider support that socially focused landlords like ourselves and WDH can provide.

“Looking ahead, if we choose to deliver public rented housing in Wakefield, we would want it to be a beacon for other places and landlords, public and private, to aspire to. We would work with tenants and residents and put their voices and needs at the heart of everything we do.”

Delivering new public rented sector homes would directly support Wakefield’s Economic Strategy 2018-23 and the Housing Plan 2019-2022.

 The Strategic Housing Market Assessment 2019 states that 646 new affordable homes are needed every year in the District. In spite of the Council’s excellent housing delivery performance, the number of affordable homes delivered each year falls short of the target. The Council is committed to meeting the demand and achieving this target and would carefully consider if the public rented sector is the right way forward.

Cllr Jeffery added: “Having a home that is affordable, safe, secure and energy efficient is top of many people’s wish list and we are determined to have more homes that meet this requirement”.

“Our district is a fantastic place for people to live, work and visit and housing is a key foundation for our economic growth and recovery from the pandemic. We are focused on creating good quality homes for the future, built to high standards that meet our residents’ needs.”