Plans to expand a busy Kirkstall retail park have been approved in principle by the council.
As previously reported, supermarket giants Morrisons submitted plans for two new retail units with ground floor and mezzanine floorspace next to to the existing sports store, on car parking behind the petrol station at Kirkstall Retail Park.
Despite local concerns about the extra traffic the stores would generate, councillors on the South and West Plans Panel at Leeds Civic Hall voted 6-4 in favour of the development following a lengthy debate.
Land owner Morrisons has agreed to pay £25,000 towards signalling works to alleviate traffic problems in the area.
At the meeting, Kirkstall ward councillor John Illingworth spoke out against the development, saying local road infrastructure could not cope with all the extra traffic generated by this development and others in the area.
Cllr Illingworth told the meeting:
“My fundamental argument is that this application is premature because the Kirkstall Gyratory is at the point of failure, and who knows today what additional land may be required to make it work adequately when all potential traffic generators come on stream over the next few years.
“If the gyratory is unable to handle the likely demand this could cause serious congestion on major orbital and radial routes on both sides of the river.”
Cllr Illingworth said the application should be deferred until a comprehensive traffic report looking into aniticpated development in the area over the next five years was produced.
His speech can be read in full here:
Councillors approved the development in principle and deferred the final decision to the council’s chief planning officer, subject to a number of planning conditions being met.
Kirkstall Forum traffic debate
Following the Civic Hall decision, the quarterly Kirkstall Forum met on Thursday evening.
Residents voiced frustration at the number of developments exacerbating traffic problems in central Kirkstall. One man said:
“The new developments make no difference as traffic is already at a standstill. The whole situation is atrotious and the timings of the traffic lights in the area are appalling.
“Between Queenswood Drive and Morris Lane you get stopped by lights eight times. It is a big problem. All we are going to do in Kirkstall is drip traffic through the area via traffic lights. There’s too much traffic already.”
Kirkstall Ward councillor Fiona Venner agreed. She said it had taken her up to half an hour at oeak time to journey between those twos streets. She added the traffic did not flow well around the Morrisons area.
Another local resident, Stuart Long, called for a comprehensive traffic survey to be conducted in the area.
Other developments in Kirkstall were discussed at the forum. These included:
George IV pub on Kirkstall Road
The high-profile derelict pub has been the subject of anti-social behaviour and the owner has been the subject of enforcement action to kae the building safe last year.
It’s understood there are tentative proposals for two retail units with residential above, but no formal planning application has been submitted yet.
Cllr Venner said:
“We are very keen to get it developed as it is a horrible eyesore.”
Angel Halls of Residence, Commercial Road
Initial plans would have seen 58 studio apartments being built there, but ward members said the proposed studios would have been too small, the applicant has come back with more acceptable proposals for 36 units.
The derelict site is the subject of anti-social behaviour. It’s hoped the plans will move forward for the building soon.
Kirkstall Bridge Design Centre
There are plans to transform the listed building into studio apartments. Apparentky ward councillors have objected on the grounds of scale and density. The plans have been referred back to the applicant for amendments.