Plans to create new parkland and a pedestrian footbridge in Kirkstall will be considered by councillors next week.
The plans have been submitted by Cllr John Illingworth (Lab, Kirkstall) for land near the St Ann’s textile mill site, off Commercial Road in Kirkstall.
The plans will connect up two sections of public footpath currently blocked by existing fencing and other barriers. The current uses of the site include a former waste transfer station, an active building depot and an area of public open green space.
The proposal includes installing a crushed stone footpath with directional signage, motorbike barriers, a footbridge and security fencing.
Sixteen letters of support and seven objections have been received in response.
Supporters say the area would be opened up for public use and be an important resource for Kirsktall, but opponents have raised concerns about the safety of the St Ann’s Mills site, highways safety and increased flood risk.
Cllr Illingworth says the scheme feeds into a wider scheme to provide a Kirkstall Valley Park, opening up the wooded areas around the Aire Valley to public access and recreation.
The Dispatch featured the plans of the Kirkstall Valley Development Trust earlier this week.
A planning officer’s report, which will be considered by councillors at next Thursday’s south and west plans panel meeting, said:
“This route would link up existing paths on the riverside adjacent to the Leeds Rhinos Rugby Academy pitches and the Goitside walk along Abbey Mill Goit, with a view to enabling the creation of a larger park within the Kirkstall Valley, improving public access to greenspace and the riverside.”
The report, which recommends the plans are approved subject to conditions, concludes:
“It is not considered the proposed footpath and environmental improvements would have an adverse impact on highway safety, visual amenity, flood risk or biodiversity, whilst providing enhanced access to a currently under-used and inaccessible area of open space in order to improve the natural environment and maximise its recreational value.
“Security concerns from some of the occupiers of the site are outweighed by the considerable amenity benefits offered by this scheme.”
The planning report can be read in full here. South and West Plans Panel will meet on Thursday, 24th November, 2016 at 1.30pm. The meeting is open to the public to attend.
As a business owner in St Ann’s Mill can I say we don’t object to a scheme for a footpath round St Ann’s Mill, we just object this one.
Since 2012 when security to St Ann’s Mill was increased we have had little or no incidents of crime in the complex. Prior to 2012 my company alone lost over £1 million pounds in crime related incidents, including a major arson attack that closed Commercial Road for a night. What this scheme does is turn back the clock to pre 2012 and the nightly occurrences of fires, break-ins and fly tipping.
What I can’t understand is why the alternative scheme business owners put forward is not being considered. This links the current mill race walk with the nature reserve and links up with Redcote Lane and the canal. It doesn’t impinge on the St Ann’s businesses and gives a longer, more picturesque walk. It also links to Armley which, we are told, is one of the aims of the footpath. We don’t mind the walkers, its the vandals and the hassle they bring we don’t need.
Why are we considering a footpath over the bridge to St Ann’s Mill when the bridge is in fact falling down? Surely repair come before new projects?