Scholes residents who strongly oppose plans by Leeds developer GMI to build hundreds of new homes in the village have welcomed support from Elmet MP Alec Shelbrooke and members of Leeds City Council.
Facing widespread objections to their plans the company and its partners Barrett David Wilson Homes have already cut the number of new homes they would like to build from 860 to 745.
Mr Shelbrooke told the News: “Villages like Scholes would struggle to accommodate the pressures such housing developments would put on our local services and infrastructure.
“The fact is that Leeds bases its target on past population rise over the last decade but does not take into account that this Government has now tackled the last Government’s open door policy on immigration and is now actively cutting net immigration.
“This needs to be reflected in the housing target and the number significantly decreased. Until the Labour Council is willing to have sensible conversation about this issue, I will stand side by side with my constituents and oppose such development.”
Villagers insist development on the reduced scale would still result in historic Scholes losing its rural character and appearance.
A large number of Scholes residents attended a recent meeting of the Leeds City Plans Panel to show their support for the parish council and for the residents’ pressure group, Save Our Scholes.
Senior executives from GMI presented an outline of their plans to build 700 homes on the eastern flank of the village, plus another 45 adjacent to Wood Lane, the latter requiring the demolition of two properties to create an access road.
Mr Shelbrooke, who travelled from Westminster to address the panel, strongly opposed the large scale development, as did Coun Claire Hassell, speaking for the parish council, and community campaigner George Hall, representing Scholes residents.
Their views were supported by Coun Neil Taggart, Chairman of the Plans Panel, who urged GMI to look for alternative sites, either in East Leeds or, he suggested, near Thorp Arch.
He said the company’s proposals were premature as the Scholes land has not been released for development.
Despite the opposition, GMI are expected shortly to submit an outline planning application for both proposed developments.
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