Plans to completely fill in an historic Pudsey railway cutting have been submitted ahead of a future planning application for housing on the site.
Despite widespread local opposition, developers EP Homes partially infilled the Greenside Tunnel cutting off Carlisle Road last year with construction, demolition and excavation materials from their existing housing development next to the cutting.
Now EP Homes wants to fill the void under the existing Carlisle Road Railway Bridge and build a retaining wall in front of the eastern entrance of Greenside Tunnel, which would not be filled in.
Their aim is to completely fill in the cutting before submitting another planning application for housing in the future.
The Greenside Greenway campaign group, which is working to turn Greenside Tunnel onto a greenway for walking, cycling and horse riding, will be objecting to the plans.
Member Martin Stanley raised specific concerns about the 3,373 HGV trips required to deliver the spill. He said:
“We knew this was coming and we will oppose it. The obscene number of large lorry trips to come through Pudsey to deliver the spill concerns me.”
Mr Stanley, who said the group have yet to meet to formulate a formal response, added:
“The proposals would scupper our Greenway idea. There would be the possibility of running it from the other side of the tunnel by the Fox and Grapes pub, but our main aim was to re-open the tunnel.”
Mr Stanley also expressed concerns about the impact on roosting bats in the tunnel.
“Not lost, but no longer visible”
EP Homes maintain the ‘temporary works associated with the importation of materials to site will not have a significant impact on the adjacent network’.
A heritage statement submitted with the application says the site is not within a conservation area and insists neither the tunnel nor the railway bridge would be physically altered. It concludes that the value of the assets which would be affected is “low”, saying the tunnel would be “not lost, but no longer visible”. It adds:
“There are no designated built heritage assets within the site. Therefore, development will not have any direct impact on any nationally important built heritage assets.”
A planning statement by the developers adds that the scheme adheres to council planning policies:
“The scheme will enable the subsequent best use of the site, through providing a number of new homes, which will assist in meeting the housing requirement for Leeds and within the local area. The ability to commence site preparation works as soon as possible will accelerate this housing delivery, along with the economic and social benefits of new homes.
“Other material considerations, including noise and dust and ecology, have been fully considered as part of the scheme design and the proposals will ensure there are no adverse impacts in terms of those detailed matters, subject to appropriate mitigation.”
The 19th century railway line closed in 1964 as a result of Beeching’s railway cuts. The cutting has remained unused since its closure. Local residents say it’s a haven for wildlife.
Campaigners recently showed representatives from the Big Lottery Fund the proposed route of phase one of the Greenside Greenway and are hoping to gain funding for a feasibility study into their proposals.
Greenside Tunnel is currently closed at both ends.