Words: John Baron
Three West Leeds councillors have raised their concerns over detailed plans to build 66 new homes on the former Airedale Mills site in Rodley.
The site, off Moss Bridge Road and Rodley Town Street, has been empty since the 1970s and is bordered by Leeds-Liverpool Canal and the River Aire.
The detailed proposals were submitted in December and include layout, scale, appearance and landscaping. They include a range of housing types, including semi-detached, detached and small groups of terraced dwellings, in addition to a four-storey apartment building.
Dynamic Capital and Investments already has outline planning permission for the site, which includes replacing the swing bridge and carrying out road works to ensure access to the former woollen mill site. Work on the bridge has already started, which has led to the temporary closure of Rodley Nature Reserve.
Both Councillor Kevin Ritchie (Lab, Bramley & Stanningley) and councillors Andrew and Amanda Carter (Cons, Calverley & Farsley) have this week filed objection comments against the proposals.
Cllr Ritchie raised concerns over the quality of greenspace being offered on the site. He said:
“The greenspace proposed does not meet the quality test. In the outline approval it is designated an ecology buffer. Greenspace should include areas for recreational play, particularly in a development with family housing such as this.
“Recognising the constraints of the site, it is therefore appropriate to make an off-site contribution to improve the facilities at the nearby Rodley Park.”
Among his other concerns are on-street visitor parking, the lack of commitment to electric vehicle charge points, and the need to create an attractive route around the perimeter of most of the site.
He also pointed to the loss of canal visitor parking on Moss Bridge Road, which could lead to displacement to the new estate. He has called for the proposals to be brought back before the plans panel if developers don’t resolve his concerns and officers are minded to recommend approval.
Councillors Andrew and Amanda Carter have formally requested that the application is referred to a full plan panel meeting for decision. They added:
“We do this for a number of reasons;
“1. To make sure there is adequate protection for existing residents of Rodley whose homes are opposite the site.
“2. To ensure there is adequate protection for the ecological belt of green space at the rear of the site, eg a palisade fence.
“3. We wish to oppose the 16-unit block of flats and car parking which are over-dominant next to the nature reserve and Rodley Cricket Club and introduce far too much development close to these amenities. We are pleased to note that the work to the bridge is apparently ahead of schedule but would remind the Planning Department and the developer that Rodley Cricket Club has been assured that these works will be completed on time to facilitate the upcoming cricket season.
“Finally, and extremely importantly, the integrity and rural landscape area of the nature reserve must be protected.”
A planning statement by developers, which accompanied the application to Leeds City Council, says:
“The design team have proposed a viable residential development that makes a positive contribution to the wider settlement. A considered approach to housetypes, movement, natural features and the context of the site ensure a high-quality living environment for new residents.”
The plans can be viewed in full here.