Residents’ anger at 400 homes plan

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ANGER is growing at controversial plans to build 400 houses on land between Scholes and Thorner.

The scheme, which was originally submitted around 18 months ago, went through on appeal last week, sparking huge concern among local residents.

Leeds City Council had initially refused permission for the houses at Grimes Dyke, York Road in Whinmoor, back in December 2009.

However, Secretary of State Eric Pickles has now overturned the decision.

Scholes resident and former parish councillor George Hallsaid he was unhappy with the decsision: “I am very disappointed with this decision and I am unhappy that greater weight wasn’t given to the fact that this is Greenfield land here, I think the people of Scholes, and the whole community, will feel very let down by this decision.”

Mr Hall told the initial enquiry that the land was protected against development’ for all time; as a result of an Act of Parliament passed more than half a century ago.

Scholes resident Sally Edward, who works at Nisa Convenience store on Station road said she was against the development as it would ruin the identity of the village.

She told the Wetherby News: “I don’t want this development to go ahead, it will affect the village feel we have here and I think it would be a mistake. I moved here three years ago as I wanted to live in a village, not a city centre, if this development goes ahead there will be no differentiation between the villages and it will lose its character.”

Melvyn Tobin of Main Street, Scholes, who had lived in the village for more than 50 years, said: “This development would overcrowd the village I feel would have a detrimental affect on the character of it. I realise there is a need for housing and that more houses are needed but I just feel that Scholes needs to reamain a village and its village character.”

Coun Matthew Robinson (Cons, Harewood) said he believed it was the ‘wrong’ decision after seeing the strength of feeling shown locally. He said: “400 houses in these villages is a massive amount of houses to be developed and is on such a big scale. The application has rumbled on for 18 months now and I think in hindsight that was bad as it gave people hope that this development would not go through, which is not the case, I am very disappointed.”

The housing development, just off York Road, is near to a proposed site for a multi-faith cemetery. Councillors had previously agreed £309,000 could be spent on creating a five-acre cemetery at Whinmoor Grange, off York Road, near Thorner, to increase burial space in north east Leeds. However the decision was referred back for more consultation following concerns that

A decision letter sent on behalf of Eric Pickles said that there was “no conflict with any of the policies in the development plan which were cited in the council’s reasons for refusing the planning application” and that the site is “relatively well located for the proposed use”.

The inspector recommended that the appeal be allowed and planning permission be granted for between 370 and 400 houses with retail and community facilities.

Persimmon Homes and Taylor Wimpey were also awarded part of their costs for mounting the appeal.