Objectors’ concern at Boston Spa housing plan

Millennium Square and Leeds Civic Hall, Leeds City Centre.
Millennium Square and Leeds Civic Hall, Leeds City Centre.

Objectors have been left ‘extremely disappointed’ with the decision to approve plans to build houses on a Boston Spa meadow.

Entered by former chair of the parish council David Thomson and Park Lane Homes in March 2014, the plans to develop land known as the Moorlands caused consternation among residents and inside the parish council.

Though several objections were lodged, including one by the council itself, and despite a recommendation from the chief planning officer that pointed to safety concerns with the highways proposals, councillors at Leeds City Council (LCC) north east plans panel voted in favour of the scheme to build four detached houses on the site.

A particular cause of concern for people who voiced their worries is that two ward members, councillors John Procter (Con) and Gerald Wilkinson (Con), were among those voting for the plans.

Tim Baker said: “The loss of view that will be the result of those houses and the loss of that meadow obviously will have a detrimental effect on our riverside location. The neighbours raised many concerns as did the planning officer, and I am extremely disappointed our ward members chose to vote in favour.”

Coun Wilkinson responded: “Whatever decision I came to, whether I had gone for it or against it, would have upset someone. You can’t please all the people all the time. In my view there was only one valid objectionon highway grounds, and, living very close to the Moorlands, I know that area extremely well and disagreed with the officer’s stance.”

Coun Procter added: “There was no possible objection on a policy basis as the site is allocated for housing. The plans panel as a whole believed the highways issues could be overcome. That said, the report that will condition any subsequent approval is still awaited.”

Measures were agreed to improve access to the site.

Though Mr Thomson is still a member of the parish council, chair Robert Wivell said everything was dealt with in the proper way.

He said: “Yes there has been a difference of opinion but as far as I’m concerned the matter is closed. Councillors are expected to use their own judgement. Sometimes they will agree with parish councillors and sometimes they won’t, they’re not slaves and I think some people find it hard to accept. Although we regret the decision we understand the process that has been gone through and it is the way it is.”

Mr Thomson said: “It has gone through due process and that is part of the democratic situationwe live in.”