No resolution yet in Boston Spa development

Boston Spa.   100310M3a.
Boston Spa. 100310M3a.
  • Decision on proposed development for Grove Road, Boston Spa, not due until June
  • This will then be more than a year after the public inquiry started in May 2014
  • Final determination will be made by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Eric Pickles MP
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The public inquiry into a 104 home development has not yet reached a resolution, and a final decision could be made as late as June.

The inquiry was held in May last year after developers Miller Homes appealed Leeds City Council’s (LCC) failure to decide on the application for up to 104 houses on land off Grove Road, Boston Spa.

It is the uncertainty of not knowing whether we are going to have an additional 104 houses plonked on our doorstep.

Parish Coun David Thomson

Planning permission for the outline application, submitted in July 2013, was neither granted nor refused, and the inquiry has ended with no decision yet made public.

According to the Planning Inspectorate, the decision on the inquiry has been ‘recovered’ by Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Eric Pickles MP, meaning he will decide it himself, rather than having an inspector make the decision.

The inspector will still write a report, but the final determination will be made by Mr Pickles on or before June 15 2015 - this particular date is to give new ministers time to prepare for their roles after the election on May 7.

This is a frustration for the people who spoke against the proposed development at the inquiry, including members of Boston Spa Parish Council.

Parish Coun David Thomson said: “It is frustrating just not knowing what the outcome is.

“It is the uncertainty of not knowing whether we are going to have an additional 104 houses plonked on our doorstep, with no places in schools and people already saying it is difficult to get appointments at the doctors.

“There are no buses to the site and it doesn’t meet any sustainability criteria that we can see - it is a mass housing estate on the edge of a village.

“They say they wanted to give incoming ministers time to get to grips with the arguments and come to a decision, but I find that a bit strange. I can’t believe the decision hasn’t already been made.”

Though it was believed the decision on the appeal was expected in March, and the June date was therefore a deferral, it is the inspector’s report that was deferred as comments had to be invited from the main parties on recently published information on household projections for England.

The date by which the Secretary of State’s decision is due to be published was always planned for June 2015 and has not changed, according to the Planning Inspectorate.

“The big argument about the site was all to do with housing numbers for Leeds as a whole, and the biggest fear is that if the developers win here and in Farsely, which is basically the same argument, it means they are saying Leeds has not demonstrated a five year land supply and under national guidance any sustainable development must be allowed,” Coun Thomson said.

“That means all the protected (PAS) sites would have to go and suddenly the floodgates will be opened, we think, with no protection, so what is the point of working towards the neighbourhood plans if it is all going to be thrown back in our face?

“And, if there is a new government, could change all the rules anyway and out it back a long way.”