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Hough Top social housing plans to be decided by councillors

By John Baron

Plans for a major new social housing development on the site of the former Hough Side School in Swinnow are set to be decided by city councillors next week.

Members of the south and west plans panel will meet at Leeds Civic Hall next Thursday (June 6) to discuss a development of 82 new local authority homes at Hough Top – after previously asking council designers to come back with revised plans after raising a number of concerns.

Councillors had previously provided feedback on the scheme back in March, and had told designers to make a number of changes to the proposal.

Changes incorporated into revised plans include: more windows to corner properties, greater articulation and an increase in windows to the flats, improvements to flank boundaries to houses, an increase in tree planting, removal of the path to the SE public open space, and improvements to hard surfacing treatment.

But there has been no change to the western boundary treatment other than the provision of ball strike netting, the proposed vehicular access points or cycle access – all of which were raised in March.

Council planning officers are recommending that councillors approve the scheme, subject to 34 planning condition, which include a landscaping scheme and details of maintenance, a highways condition survey and retention of driveways for parking.

The council wants to build a 100% affordable residential development across the site including both houses and apartments. The site would contain 55 houses and 27 apartments, meaning there will be 82 new residential properties proposed.

The two-storey houses will be a mixture of two, three and four bedrooms. Each house will have its own parking spaces and private garden space. The proposed three-storey apartment block will contain a mixture of one and two-bedroom units.

The proposals have generated 106 objection comments, mainly around road safety, parking, site access, dominance and design. Pudsey councillor Simon Seary has supported residents’ concerns. There were also six comments in support.

Civc watchdog Leeds Civic Trust welcomed ‘much-needed’ affordable housing in the local area. They said the site layout lacks a centre, but the houses are well proportioned but are without any particular architectural character. More trees are required and they had concerns over the ground floor layout of some of the houses.

A council planning officer’s report concluded that the principle of residential development is ‘considered to be acceptable’. The report added: “The development is not considered to be harmful to the character and appearance of the area, nor would it have a harmful impact on highway safety. The development provides 100% affordable housing and this weighs heavily in the balance of considerations.”

The agenda and council documents for next Thursday’s Civic Hall meeting (1.30pm) can be read here.

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  1. The Applicant (LCC) continues to claim that they have “sought to engage positively and proactively with the local community, both during the life of the application and at pre-application stage.” But that’s total rubbish.

    This has never been engagement – simply notification. As residents we have offered on several occasions to meet with the Council House Growth Team to discuss the situation. This has been rebuffed. No effort has been made to work with residents to revise the scheme to overcome our legitimate concerns. The 3 storey flats are too big – and in the wrong place. The whole development is in red brick – yet the whole of Hough Top is local stone. And they are closing the original main entrance to the site on Harley Drive – which pushes all of the traffic onto Hough Top, a road that has significant well known problems they refuse to acknowledge.

    No-one is objecting to the principle of the development. Yet all interactions with the Planning Department and the CHGT – and the fact that they are pushing this through during the run up to a general election (when important political decisions are supposed to be avoided, even in local government) lead us to suspect predetermination has already taken place.

    If there is no evidence of any revisions to the proposed scheme which reflect feedback received from residents at any stage – just how meaningful was the “consultation process”?

    If the Applicant (LCC), the Planning Department (LCC) and the Council (LCC) are all pushing to get this built as fast as possible, at as low a cost as possible… what would you expect? Consultation would never have resulted in amendments to the scheme.

    The rights of existing residents have been ignored throughout and prejudiced by the process. Under Planning Law, residents should have a legitimate expectation that their concerns will be heard, listened to and fairly and properly reported to the Panel Members when the application is determined. Yet the report in the linked documents is riddled with errors, untruths, and downplays the scale of over 100 objections from the public.


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