Major housing plan could take up quota

NAWN 1309035AM1 Ben Hogan. Picture : Adrian Murray (1309035AM1)
NAWN 1309035AM1 Ben Hogan. Picture : Adrian Murray (1309035AM1)

A Harewood councillor says 600 acres of Green Belt land between Bramham and Tadcaster would help to protect rural villages in the Wetherby and East Leeds areas from large scale house building.

Coun Rachael Procter (Con, Harewood) said the Headley Hall development would make a major contribution to achieving the new homes target of 5,000 set for the North East area of the Leeds district by the city council.

She told villagers at a public meeting in Scholes: “You all need to be writing to Leeds City Council to promote Headley Hall.

“Saying ‘we don’t want any houses’ is not the solution.”

She added: “We want Headley Hall to go ahead, rather than (building in) the villages. All the benefits would go to the city and the University.”

At a Scholes meeting last November her husband, Coun John Procter, said the University of Leeds, owners of the land at Headley Hall, had agreed in principle to sell it for housing development.

“It could take 5,000 houses but about 3,000 would be right,” he said, adding: “You can either pepper pot across all the villages or look for one or two strategic sites to take the bulk.

“We are looking to pursue the latter course of action.”

However, the promotion of Headley Hall for large scale housing is likely to be strongly resisted by Bramham residents, as the land is to the south east of their village.

At the latest Scholes meeting Coun Rachael Procter commented: “Headley Hall is an ideal location.

“It would solve all the problems. We have gone through this with the planners.”

The meeting was attended by top executives from Leeds developers GMI Holdings and Barratt David Wilson homes, who are consulting residents about their plans to build up to 860 homes in Scholes.

Coun Procter said: “There are housing schemes coming in all over the city and (Harewood) ward. Leeds City Council says they are too early, too soon.”

She added that the council intend to use a proposed development on ‘protected area of search’ land in the Farsley and Calverley area of Leeds as a test case.

The city council would not agree to GMI’s proposals, she predicted, adding: “We have told GMI that. They will challenge that and the decision will end up being made at the very top.”

Coun Julian Kelly, a Scholes parish councillor, told residents: “I think we expect some development has to take place but 800 properties is far too many.

“We don’t want to double the size of the village; it is big enough.”

Scholes resident Karen Dale declared: “They (developers) need to use brownfield sites first and leave our green fields alone.”

But Chris Gilman, for GMI Holdings said proposed development would improve local services, including education, health, shopping, public transport, and open space.