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Green light for Pudsey housing plans

Planning chiefs have approved in principle outline plans to build dozens of new houses on a site in Pudsey, writes Richard Beecham.

Outline plans to build at least 65 houses on a greenfield site off Owlcotes Road in Pudsey were discussed by Leeds City Council’s south and west plans panel.

A report by council officers claimed the authority has received 13 objections to the plans from residents, citing issues such as the loss of views and privacy, the need for traffic calming measures, and threat to wildlife.

Councillor Andrew Carter (Con, Farsley & Calverley) took issue with the fact the plans would involve building on a greenfield site, adding:

“I have opposed this piece of land being used for housing.

“On climate change, council declared a climate emergency. I wonder if the council takes the climate emergency seriously – if we include sites like this it makes a mockery of it.

“I would hope whatever happens, necessary protection measures will be taken. The site will be a major loss.

“I really don’t know where our planners get information (on infrastructure) – there is a doctor’s surgery within yards and it is full to overflowing.

“The schools, as far as I am aware, are all full, so where are kids going to go to school if local schools are full?

“It’s become a standard response – ‘the services are adequate’ – but they are grossly inadequate.”

Matthew Turnbull, speaking on behalf of Keyland developments, claimed any challenges on the grounds of environmental impact were irrelevant, as the council’s site allocation plan – the document which lists where houses should be built in future – was adopted by the authority after it declared a climate emergency.

He said:

“The challenge related to sites formally designated within the green belt.

“However, the site was not allocated as greenbelt. Any delay to these sites may delay the council’s ability to deliver housing.

“We were informed that this was brought to plans panel because it needed to be considered in the light of the climate emergency.

“However, I would point out Leeds City Council declared the climate emergency on March 27, 2019 – the SAP was adopted in July 2019 – this site was allocated after the climate emergency was declared in full knowledge of the climate change agenda.

“The site is one of the best and most sustainable developments in the outer west area. The site will deliver new housing, while being policy compliant.”

The application, known as an “outline”, focuses on the broad principle of development on the site, with further information on the number of houses and designs in a more detailed “reserved matters” application, to be submitted in the coming months.

But panel member Coun Barry Anderson was concerned accepting the outline plans in its current form could make planning chiefs feel compelled to accept any unsuitable reserved matters application further down the line.

“I have grave concerns over this,” he added.

“I am not satisfied that the infrastructure, health and school needs have been addressed clearly.

“The road is quite dangerous – the fact there is a need for traffic calming shows there are significant concerns.

“I do think there is more information that need to be looked at. This is the one chance we have got to get it right – and at this stage I don’t feel like we have enough information to honestly say that there won’t be problems further down the line.”

Coun Ryan Stephenson (Con) said: “I am concerned about the drainage element – it has not been answered fully. All we have had is reading the reports.

“In summary, some more detail could have been provided to us to help us along the way.”

Coun Paul Wray (Lab) said: “This is an outline application – whether people like that it’s in the SAP or not, it carries weight. We are here to make a decision, not play local politics with the situation.”

Coun Anderson then proposed a deferral of the application while more information could be obtained about the site. The proposal was voted down by six to two.

The panel then agreed to accept the plans in principle and delegate the decision to planning officers.

Following the meeting, Beth McQue, development planner at Keyland Developments Ltd, said: “This site had already been allocated for residential development in the Leeds City Council Site Allocation Plan (2019) and the consent will now enable a housebuilder to bring forward a high quality scheme to complement the site’s surroundings.

“In this case we have been able to bring about regeneration of a redundant site and contribute to the local authority’s long-term housing targets.”

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