Decision day looms for controversial Airedale Mills housing plans

The Airedale Mills site in Rodley.

By John Baron

Controversial plans for housing at the former Airedale Mills site in Rodley are set to be decided by councillors next Thursday. 

Detailed proposals for 67 new build to rent homes were first submitted in December 2021 by Casa By Moda (part of construction giants Caddick).

Council planning officers are recommending that councillors on the south and west plans panel approve the plans in principle and defer planning conditions – including affordable housing of 10 units and off-site greenspace enhancements of £50,000 – to the chief planning officer for final approval.

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.

The new Moss Lane Bridge in Rodley leads to the proposed development.

Council planning chiefs also said more work needs to be done before they will sign off the delayed new swing bridge which will provide access to the proposed ‘island’ development. The bridge was part of the outline (in principle) planning permission for housing and has been dogged by delays and operational problems.

Councillors had previously feared a ‘catastrophe’ if emergency services struggled to cross the bridge.

A planning officer’s report notes: “An amended construction management plan was submitted after a period of delays and unexpected complexities regarding the bridge mechanism, operational timings and specification requirements from the Canal and Rivers Trust.

“At the time of drafting this report, a number of operational issues are sought to be addressed by the parties including the bridge mechanism and kentledge (counter weight balance).”

The proposals were first debated by councillors on February, when a decision was deferred to allow for further discussions between council officers to take place. Concerns included the layout and design of the site, off-site parking and the lack of a meaningful green space contribution.

The officer’s report to be considered next Thursday 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.”

Plans south and west meets next Thursday, 8 June, at 1.30pm in Leeds Civic Hall. The agenda and reports can be read in full here.

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  1. Offsite greenspace enhancements of £50,000? Thats peanuts compared to what this developer is going to make out of this development – if the council agrees to that then we know other money is definitely changing hands behind the scenes. There should be greenspace included IN this development, its a considerable size, and getting (potentially) 100 kids to have to cross a busy main road to get to a park is just asking for an accident to happen.


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