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Wortley High School housing: Developer raises concerns over costs, plans panel hears

A decision on controversial plans for housing on the derelict former Wortley High School site was postponed today after developers raised concerns about escalating costs.

Keepmoat Homes wants to build 59 homes with access from Swallow Crescent. But the company has asked members of Leeds council’s south and west plans panel to defer any decision until the New Year.

Councillors heard that Keepmoat had written to the council saying a number of issues, including negotiations over the price of the land and the cost of section 106 community contributions linked to planning permission, had led Keepmoat to question the financial viability of the site.

Cllr Colin Campbell (Lib Dem) told the meeting he was confused as to why Keepmoat’s request to defer a decision on the application had been made so late in the planning process. He added:

“I would like to make it clear – I expect policy compliance with regards section 106 green space contributions and affordable housing. This member will not be sympathetic to negotiating this down.”

Councillors agreed to defer making a decision on the application until the New Year.

As reported by WLD in July, local residents have raised concerns about access to the new development, claiming Swallow Crescent already has problems with parking.

In addition to 22 objections from nearby residents, Councillors Ann and David Blackburn (Green, Farnley and Wortley) also raised concerns about the number of properties on the site.

Council planning officers had recommended the plans be approved, subject to a number of conditions.

A planning statement submitted to Leeds City Council by Keepmoat says the proposals offer a ‘highly sustainable’ location for new homes that are within walking and cycling distance from local services and public transport. It adds:

“The details of the site layout and the appearance of the development have sought to ensure that this scheme will have a high quality, attractive character that complements the existing neighbourhood, respects the constraints imposed by features adjoining the site and provides a range of housing that is needed in the locality.”

The plans can be viewed in full here.

Site history

In 2015 the council unsuccessfully marketed the site for a potential two-storey, 45-unit staffed care home for older people.

The council agreed to sell the site for housing in December 2016.

The Dispatch reported last November on the demolition of the vandalised former caretaker’s house on the site.

The school itself was demolished in 2011.

Read more about the West Leeds Dispatch‘s coverage of the former school site here.


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