A final decision over a new six-storey student residential accommodation on Burley Road will be taken by Leeds councillors next week – with planning officers recommending they’re refused.
The plans to demolish Index House and demolish it for student accommodation were deferred by councillors last July amid concerns over highways issues and it overlooking a nearby school and the neighbouring Five Ways Recovery Academy.
Applicant Torsion’s proposals feature 57 bed spaces and be a mix of “cluster” and studio apartments, would also include a communal lounge and kitchen facilities.
Torsion has amended the scheme since last July by pulling the upper storeys of the building away from the terrace and building and amending the rear elevation of the building to include projecting bay windows to prevent direct overlooking of the terrace.
The council had received 38 letters of objection against the scheme, as well as objections from 107 pupils of nearby Rosebank Primary School.
Councillor Fiona Venner (Lab, Kirkstall) also objected in her capacity as an executive board member, saying the development would have a ‘shocking’ impact on Five Ways, which supports people with addiction problems.
She said they would not be able to use their roof terrace, which is used for therapeutic work as well as social space. Attendees would lose all confidentiality due to the closeness of the build.
Leeds Central MP Hilary Benn also objected, alongside other local councillors and community organisations, stating: “I’m writing to object to these revised plans on the grounds that they still create problems for both the school and the Five Ways Academy when it comes to light and being overbearing. I do hope the application will be rejected.”
Now, council planning officers have recommended that the scheme be refused, due to its impact on Five Ways. An officer’s report concludes:
“It is acknowledged that the proposal represents a high-quality development that will enhance the character and appearance of the immediate and wider street scape, provide additional student accommodation and wider economic benefits.
“Furthermore, robust conditions and the completion of the Section 106 agreement could be used to address concerns and manage the impacts of the development on Rosebank Primary School and nearby residential areas.
“However, the impact on the outdoor terrace of Five Ways Recovery Academy will be significant and cannot be addressed through design amendments to the scheme or use of conditions. It is due to this impact that it is recommended that planning permission should be refused.”
Councillors on the south and west plans panel will meet to discuss the plans next Thursday, 4 August, at Leeds Civic Hall, 1pm. The meeting will be webcast live. All the documents related to the application and link to the webcast can be found here.