Tree removal plans at proposed housing development anger Rodley Nature Reserve volunteers

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Rodley Nature Reserve. Photo courtesy http://www.rodleynaturereserve.org/explore/gallery/

By John Baron

Volunteers from Rodley Nature Reserve are objecting to revised plans for housing at the adjoining Airedale Mills site.

Detailed proposals for 66 new homes were first submitted in December and include layout, scale, appearance and landscaping. They include a range of housing types and an apartment building.

But Reserve trustees are this week saying documents submitted by developers to Leeds City Council this week detail changes to a proposed ecology buffer, which would act as a wildlife corridor between the development and the River Aire.

They say that for an ecology buffer to serve its purpose, it needs to be near continuous and undisturbed by public access to provide a haven for wildlife. In a statement issued on social media, Reserve trustees say:

“It is now apparent that many of the trees in the buffer zone are scheduled to be removed or trimmed, including the two magnificent weeping willows, and a path created near the river.

“If carried out, this would undermine the whole purpose of the zone which, among other things, is known to be used by otters.

“Not only do the trees currently form part of an ecology buffer, but they also provide a screen for the Reserve which will shield its wildlife from disturbance caused by the sight of day to day human activity in the development and help dampen noise from it.

The Reserve is calling on the local community to object The planning application can be viewed in full here.

More than a dozen trees could be removed, with an independent arboricultural report saying many should be removed ‘for arboricultural reasons’.

Almost 50 objections have been made by local residents and councillors against the application.

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.

A separate plan to build a bridge over the River Aire to provide access to the nature reserve already has planning permission, but has faced delays which have impacted both the nature reserve and Rodley Cricket Club.

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