By John Baron
Controversial plans for housing at the former Airedale Mills site in Rodley are set to be debated by councillors next week.
Detailed proposals for 67 new build to rent homes were first submitted in December 2021 by Casa By Moda (part of construction giants Caddick).
The principle of the development – called the outline stage – and a new swing bridge to the site were approved two years ago, and the bridge opened last month.
The detailed proposals, to be considered by councillors on the south and west plans panel, include 51 two to four bedroom houses and 16 apartments.
But the plans have been met with 214 objections, with concerns including the visual impact of the development, ‘poor’ deign of the properties and concerns over access and parking.
Other objections include impacts upon highway safety, appearance and design, impact upon the community, ecology considerations and disruption to the access of Rodley Nature Reserve and Rodley Cricket Club.
Councillors in both Bramley & Stanningley and Calverley & Farsley wards have also expressed concerns.
A report to be considered by councillors next Thursday says that the initial scheme has been amended, along with council officers’ input into the design, layout and scale of development. It says the main ecological buffer between the development, River Aire and Rodley Nature Reserve has also been amended.
The planning officer’s report recommends that the plans be approved in principle and deferred by councillors to the council’s chief planning officer to agree a raft of 23 conditions and the developer agreeing to pay £25,000 for off-site green space improvements and 10 of the units being affordable.
The report concludes: “Following negotiations with the agent, the scheme is considered to be policy compliant and will result in the redevelopment of a brownfield site within a sustainable location, contributing a much-needed mix of new housing to the city, including 10 affordable units. The design, scale, appearance, and landscaping of the development is considered to represent a complimentary addition to the local environment.
“The proposal is considered to have some visual impact upon the character of the area when compared to the existing characteristics of the site. However, the site previously comprised substantial mill buildings used in the textile industry, and therefore the proposed development represents an appropriate form of development for this site.”
The report acknowledges a number of operational issues around the new bridge still need to be addressed, including issues with the bridge mechanism.
Both Cllr Kevin Ritchie (Lab, Bramley & Stanningley) and Cllr Andrew Carter (Cons, Calverley & Farsley) asked for the application to come before based on associated impacts upon highway safety, appearance and design, impact upon the community and ecology considerations.
The south and west plans panel meeting will be held next Thursday, 16 February, in Leeds Civic Hall at 1.30pm. The agenda can be read in full here.