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Mixed reaction to Kirkstall District Centre housing plans

Plans to redevelop the former Kirkstall District Centre site have met with a mixed reaction from residents.

Developers Artisan want to redevelop the mostly derelict site with up to 263 homes and flexible commercial floorspace which could be used as retail, professional services or offices. The development is know as Kirkstall Place.

The scheme is already drawing a mixed reaction, with commenters on the planning application saying they understand the need to redevelop the eyesore site – but raising concerns about increased traffic in the area and the height of the houses.

kirkstall district centre
Photo: Google

Melanie Robbins, secretary of the Kirkstall Village Action Group, said that the use of undercroft parking meant some of the buildings were too high. She added:

“Whilst many residents support some sort of scheme to develop this derelict land there are serious concerns over the scale of the proposal and the traffic this will incur.

“The height of the end blocks – the flats – is far too high. We were advised at the public meeting that these had been scaled down to three levels yet clearly these are five including garage and roof. This would make them excessively high for the site.

“The view of the Aire Valley from our estate – Gilberts and Sandford Rd – would be completely obscured by these buildings, leaving us just buildings, as will the view of the Valley from Kirkstall Hill.

“This is a very prominent site and is highly visible along the Aire Valley from all approaches to Kirkstall and would be an eyesore stuck on the hillside.”

Ms Robbins also raised concerns about traffic in the area. She added:

“If these were reduced in height this would not only be better looking but also reduce the amount of cars expected on the site. Our residents are worried about the impact on our estate.

“Increasing traffic access through it, and the possibility of ‘rat running’, yet equally we do not want to see some
type of restrictions, where the present residents ‘pay the price’ of this increase in traffic by having their own access unfairly restricted.

“Kirkstall Hill would need to be possibly widened – especially at the Kirkstall Lane junction as the present Bus Stop cut in is wholly inadequate and creates a blockage every time a bus stops, as there is insufficient space to pass safely up the hill.

“This must not be simply pushed through because of the length of time the site has been vacant and previous lack of interest, nor simply for maximum profit for the developer and those involved.

“We have to live and work with the results for the rest of time, it must be done with present residents’ consent – that’s only fair.”

Lucy May added:

“The crossroads at Kirkstall are already very congested at times and an extra potential 200+ vehicles in that area will undoubtedly make it a lot worse.”

Ian Burrows added concerns about Kirkstall Forge bringing a 20% increase to the roads and the Kirkstall Place development adding to traffic issues in the area.

Submitting the application, Artisan say:

“The proposals will regenerate this derelict site which has been redundant for 15 years, significantly improving its physical appearance and adding to the overall regeneration of Kirkstall.

“The redevelopment of the site will provide a new residential-community in the heart of Kirkstall providing you pedestrian routes improving the connectivity and permeability to the surrounding areas of Kirkstall.”

Resident car parking will be provided within the undercroft and visitor parking will be provided at street level.

In total, 264 car parking spaces will be provided, with access via Beecroft Street. These will be split between 239 allocated under croft resident car parking spaces, and 25 on-street visitor parking spaces.

There will be a storage area located within the undercroft for 330 bicycles.

The plans can be viewed in full here.

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