Thursday, May 13, 2021
HomeNewsConcerns grow over Kirkstall housing plans

Concerns grow over Kirkstall housing plans

Residents in Kirkstall are being urged to lodge last-gasp objections to plans for 263 dwellings on the former district centre site.

Developers Artisan submitted plans for the Kirkstall Place development last March, but a number of concerns have been raised locally about increased traffic congestion.

At last night’s Kirkstall Neighbourhood Forum annual general meeting residents were encouraged to file objections to the proposals, which Kirkstall councillor John Illingworth (Lab) claims have changed since they sere first submitted.

He says developers are unwilling to make a greenspace contribution and that they were unwilling to provide affordable housing.

Cllr Illingworth said:

“Initial discussions with councillors and community groups originally promised full compliance with the council’s core strategy. This included substantial off-site greenspace, an effective residents’ parking scheme and the full quota of affordable housing. Our initial support was obtained on this basis.

The scheme now on offer falls far short of the expectations raised during the public consultation.

The council called in the government’s District Valuer to resolve the impasse with Artisan. The District Valuer has decided that while the site has its challenges in terms of a steep slope, the developer should still provide some affordable housing on the site.

Cllr Illingworth criticised the District Valuer’s decision to redact several key figures in his report, which Cllr Illingworth says makes it difficult for councillors and Kirkstall Neighbourhood Forum to make an informed comment on the valuer’s opinion.

“We cannot see several key sums and calculations ion the report, which makes a mockery of us trying to comment on it. The report should be open to the public.

“I am up for a scrap on this. I am outraged. The guy is not being straight with us.”

The meeting heard a decision on the plans could be made by Leeds City Council towards the end of February.

A statement issued by Kirkstall Neighbourhood Forum before the meeting said:

“The District Valuer has reviewed Artisan’s claims and offers them qualified support, but he apparently objects to the publication of his own report, so we are unable to properly challenge his conclusions or discuss them with the public. 

“He also warns that there are other things that Artisan could claim for, so it is entirely possible that the Artisan scheme might yield no public benefit whatsoever.

“There is the clearest possible government guidance that the District Valuer’s report is a public document. This impasse is wasting everybody’s time and makes a mockery of the Council naming the Kirkstall Neighbourhood Forum as an official consultee on Kirkstall planning applications.

“How can the Kirkstall Neighbourhood Forum possibly function as a consultee if its members can’t see the relevant paperwork?

“Most of the public have no idea what is happening and they are unaware that the scheme that Artisan advertised last Spring can not meet key performance targets. “

West Leeds Dispatch has contacted the District Valuer’s press office for comment.

Cllr Illingworth urged people at the meeting to object by e-mailing planning@leeds.gov.uk.

The number of affordable housing units have been reduced from 40 to 22 on the site, with Artisan expected to make a 20% profit on the site.

Plans include 263 dwellings and flexible commercial floorspace which could be used as shops or offices.

View the plans in full here.

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