Words: Richard Beecham, local democracy reporter
Plans for nearly 800 flats to be built on an “eyesore” former industrial site to the south-west of Leeds city centre have been approved by council planning chiefs.
The large, concreted site on the corner of Whitehall Road and Globe Road, is soon expected to be home to eight buildings, between eight and 23 storeys in height, which will include 783 flats as well as commercial units.
Councillors unanimously supported the plans at a Leeds City Council plans panel meeting on Thursday, although some had concerns about the lack of affordable housing on the site and nearby health facilities.
Coun David Blackburn (Green, Farnley & Wortley) praised the plans. He said:
“I welcome this development. We have had lots of applications on this site and it is now a bit of an eyesore. It would be good to get something decent on there.”
Commenting on the plans, Coun Colin Campbell (Lib Dem) said:
“I am quite happy with the development and I am okay with the materials.
“There is a lot of development on this site, and there doesn’t seem to be much amenity space for the 1,500 people who will live (in the area). I wonder if we can’t bring the canal side site forward and include more amenity space residents can use.”
Coun Peter Gruen (Lab) agreed that the proposals were acceptable, but warned:
“I also welcome the amount of thought and detail that’s been given in this application.
“We must surely now be in a climate where public health considerations are as important as highways or landscape issues.
“We don’t have a great preponderance of GP surgeries and health centres in the city centre. If nobody gives thought to those issues, it will be a problem.”
Developer Get Living currently manages part of the former London Olympics athlete village in Stratford, East London – now known as East Village.
According to the plans, none of the flats would be available to buy, and would all be private rents. The report from Leeds City Council officers listed the overall value of the development at £177.5m.
The committee was also told that the developer could only afford 3.44 per cent affordable rents, despite the council requiring a minimum of seven per cent in and around the city centre.
These plans follow previous attempts to revive the site in 2005 and 2013, when full permission was granted to build similarly large residential developments, but the time limit has since expired on both.
The plans were approved in principle by councillors, who instructed officers to iron out conditions for the developer to contribute towards road and public transport improvements.