Plans to partially infill a historic Pudsey railway cutting have been refused by Leeds City Council following a massive residents’ campaign.
The cutting, off Carlisle Road, was partially filled two years ago.
EP Homes wanted to fill the void under the nearby Carlisle Road Railway Bridge with inert material and build a retaining wall in front of the entrance of Greenside Tunnel, which would not be filled in.
They said the site works would ‘not have a significant impact’ on nearby roads and that neither the landmark tunnel nor the railway bridge would be physically altered. EP Homes had previously said the tunnel would be “not lost, but no longer visible”.
But council planning officers have refused the plans.
Their report says the developer could not demonstrate how the work could protect the living conditions of nearby residents. The officer also raised concerns over highways safety.
The officer also pointed to the impact on the tunnel and bridge and was unconvinced how the tipping of material and engineering of the land would provide a suitable building platform for future housing.
There were also concerns that the plans didn’t show why a viable housing scheme could not be provided by using less infill material with fewer vehicle movements.
The plans also lacked an adequate landscaping scheme which would mitigate against the loss of existing trees.
The decision has been welcomed by members of the Greenside Greenway campaign, who are working to turn Greenside tunnel onto a greenway for walking, cycling and horse riding.
Campaigner Martin Stanley said:
“Based on the objection documents submitted by different organisations we had always expected the plans to be rejected. It’s very exciting that the council has agreed with us.
“There is always the possibility of an appeal or fresh application, but the objections from Highways England regarding access to the tunnel seem very strong.”
Mr Stanley said the group was close to securing funding for a £10,000 feasibility study for the greenway and although the cutting was partially infilled two years ago, the group is confident the infill can be moved further along the route.
The group is hoping to become a charity early next year and is inviting people to become trustees. More details from email@example.com.
The decision was also welcomed by Cllr Simon Seary (Cons, Pudsey). He said:
“It’s brilliant news that it’s been refused. The tunnel is a local landmark and it would have been a shame to lose it. Hopefully going forward it can become greenspace with the greenway campaign.
“Unfortunately it is still in the five-year Site Allocation Plan as housing by Leeds City Council and Pudsey councillors will be working to get it taken out of the plan.
“I don’t understand why it was on there in the first place. While it’s still on there we will be having to fight off potential developers.”
Other objectors included Cllr Mark Harrison (Cons, Pudsey) and former Pudsey Labour councillor Richard Lewis.