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Wildlife and biodiversity fears ahead of Rodley housing plan ‘D-Day’

A West Leeds councillor has stepped up his objections to controversial plans for 67 homes on the former Airedale Mills site in Rodley.

Councillor Peter Carlill (Lab, Calverley & Farsley) has written to the council’s planning department to object to detailed plans at the site, which are due to be decided by councillors on Thursday.

The decision comes despite ongoing concerns over the reliability of a newly-installed swing bridge which is the only link to the site.

Cllr Carlill told WLD: “As well as the ongoing saga with the bridge and the significant concerns around increased parking and traffic caused by the development, new information submitted gives me further concern that protection of wildlife and biodiversity in the area is not being treated with the importance it deserves.

“This site is between the important habitats of the canal and river, and borders the award-winning Rodley Nature Reserve – a key local destination, but also of importance nationally due to its unique wildlife.

“My previous comments have made clear that the nature reserve and local wildlife should be protected at all costs and therefore I have further objected on these grounds.”

In his objection Cllr Carlill raised concerns over possible works to trees earmarked for the ecology buffer between Rodley Nature Reserve and the development and asked that comprehensive plans to ensure protection of these areas be provided.

Council planning officers are recommending councillors approve the plan in principle and defer final approval to the chief planning officer, subject to planning conditions – including affordable housing of 10 units and off-site greenspace enhancements of £50,000 – being signed off with the applicant.

Trustees at Rodley Nature Reserve have also raised fresh concerns over tree works in the proposed ecology buffer between the two sites.

Yesterday WLD reported on the concerns of Calverley and Farsley Tory councillors Andrew and Amanda Carter, who have issued a formal complaint about the way Leeds City Council has handled the controversial planning application.

Background

Detailed proposals for 67 new build to rent homes were first submitted in December 2021 by Casa By Moda (part of construction giants Caddick).

Council planning officers are recommending that councillors on the south and west plans panel approve the plans in principle and defer planning conditions – including affordable housing of 10 units and off-site greenspace enhancements of £50,000 – to the chief planning officer for final approval.

The principle of the development – called the outline stage – and a new swing bridge to the site were approved two years ago, and the bridge opened in January. 

But the plans have been met with 214 objections, with concerns including the visual impact of the development, ‘poor’ deign of the properties and concerns over access and parking.

Other objections include impacts upon highway safety, appearance and design, impact upon the community, ecology considerations and disruption to the access of Rodley Nature Reserve and Rodley Cricket Club.

Plans south and west meets on Thursday, 8 June, at 1.30pm in Leeds Civic Hall. The agenda and reports can be read in full here.

2 COMMENTS

  1. We worry that if some concerns are being ignored now, they will be completely ignored after planning is passed!

  2. We all know that “approving the plans in principle” now will mean that elements such as the affordable homes, paltry contributions to offsite greenspace, etc will all quietly disappear before the final details are approved. It makes you wonder why the council are so keen to push this development through, at the expense of everything else. Environmental concerns are obviously not of interest to the council (witness how they’re dragging their feet over the enquiry into airport flying times), so there must be some considerable sums changing hands behind the scenes.

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