Doubt still hangs over Wetherby housing sites

Wetherby Coun John Procter (Con) at the development plan panel meeting on housing allocations across the Leeds region.

Wetherby Coun John Procter (Con) at the development plan panel meeting on housing allocations across the Leeds region.

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Questions over plans to build up to 3,000 of the 5,000 houses proposed for the Wetherby area are going unanswered.

A report by Leeds City Council’s (LCC) chief planning officer has been released this week before going to executive board, pointing to ongoing work on two sites that could be deciding factors in future development around Wetherby.

At last month’s development plan panel, doubt was cast over Headley Fields in Bramham, which could take up to 3,000 of the homes planned for the outer north east area and is heralded as the saviour of the district.

Similarly, the use of Thorp Arch Trading Estate, put forward for employment only but also selected for up to 2,000 houses, was questioned.

Now, in this report, which seeks agreement from the executive board ahead of public consultation, both are highlighted as containing outstanding issues and in need of further work before coming forward for development.

With no definitive future yet set out for these sites, this means alternatives may need to be used, pepper-potting villages with dispersed housing.

LCC executive member for planning Coun Peter Gruen (Lab) said: “The development plan panel meetings were very valuable in gathering views and feedback on proposals and the next step of the process is for executive board to look at the plans and approve officers formally creating the proposals for public consultation later in the year.

“A lot has been said about these proposals with significant interest in the housing elements especially, but it is important these plans are seen in their entirety with the aim of providing a strong economic future for Leeds as a city, its residents and its communities.

“Among the key principles in bringing the plans together were: building on brownfield sites first, bringing empty homes back into use, providing a significant proportion of affordable new housing, respecting community identities, protecting green space, and supporting economic growth and regeneration.”

More information is expected to be made available following the executive board meeting next week, on Wednesday, February 11, 2015. See www.wetherbynews.co.uk for updates.