Bramley: Industrial units plans on historic woodland withdrawn

15 October 2018

Developers have withdrawn controversial plans to pull down protected trees on historic woodland in Bramley and build three light industrial units with car parking.

A petition with more than 200 signatures had been collected by residents concerned about the proposals to pull down protected trees on woodland in the Houghley Gill area.

They had been fighting the planning application submitted at Hill Top Commercial Centre for more than 18 months. Concerns about road safety down Houghley Lane were also expressed.

Campaigner Stefaney Raee said:

“It is good news that the application has been withdrawn but there is always doubt that Gaunts will try again so neighbours and I will have to remain vigilant in case they come back.”

A report by a council landscape officer suggested that the scheme be scaled back to two units instead of three, with the second unit reduced in length. He said:

“Undoubtedly this piece of woodland has been neglected but it is not to say it does not have potential to be improved with management although it still has some good features.

“The site does contain TPOs (Tree Preservation Orders) and has public amenity value. The council has policies to increase the amount of woodland and green infrastructure in Leeds and this is another consideration.

“The woodland does contribute to the local green infrastructure connectivity as illustrated below. This connectivity would be lost if the woodland was removed and that would be harmful in bio diversity terms

‘Applicants Gaunts Property Ltd contested the landscape officer’s definition of ‘woodland’ and argued:

“The site under consideration may have been described as a woodland by others and possibly that description is the easiest to use. It has not however been described by the Landscape Officer as a woodland beforehand in any communications that we can find and not as far as we can recall by ourselves.

“It could equally be described as an area of trees, collection of poor quality self-seeded /
natural regeneration or any other title the author may decide.

“In reality the site requires to be considered how it could be best utilised with due consideration for all issues such as visual amenity, habitat, health and safety, commercial viability or whatever and the extensive arboricultural documentation submitted within the application addresses all relevant issues.”

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