New housing plans set to be revised

Walton Road, Thorp Arch. Pic: Google.
Walton Road, Thorp Arch. Pic: Google.

Plans for 119 houses north of Wealstun prison are set to be revised.

Applicant Homes England, formerly Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) has indicated that a modified scheme is due to be submitted to Leeds planners this week.

“Many highways issues remain to be addressed,” said Peter Locke, Chairman of TAG (Thorp Arch Action Group) which is campaigning against big housing developments in the area.

The news, which Mr Locke said he was given on good authority, comes in the week that Leeds highways published their comments on the plans which have found objections from Thorp Arch and Boston Spa Councils, who cited traffic increase among the concerns.

“Leeds transport development services have indicated their concerns around the scheme, mainly due to the very poor accessibility by public transport, and the congested, narrow and unsafe route for vehicles to Boston Spa,” added Peter.

“The applicant’s suggestion of widening Bridge Road, by shrinking the eastern pavement, has been rejected on national policy grounds, which prioritise pedestrian provision.”

Although Leeds Planning Officer Matthew Walker said it was not considered that the application would have a severe impact on the road network, the report said there were concerns about the planning merits of the scheme.

The recommendation stated: “The acceptability of the principle a residential development in this locatioin, which does not meet Core Strategy Accessibility Standards, requires further consideration with regards to housing need in the out north east segment of the city, the emerging Site Allocations Plan and other planning merits.”

The Transport Development Service Consultation Response states that it is expected that an additional 32 vehicle movements will be created over Thorp Arch Bridge and through the High Street/Bridge Road junction at peak times.

“This equates to an average of one additional movement about ever two minutes,” added the officer.

Peter added of the outline plans: “A central plank of the current proposal is the provision of a community centre.

“This is roundly rejected by the local villages, as it is in the wrong place, not central for either Walton or Thorp Arch, and would undermine the viability of existing provision in Walton.

“The loss of greenspace, which has been used for informal recreation by the local communities, and which conflicts with Leeds objectives for recreation provision, is also a strongly opposed.

“This is the wrong scheme, in the wrong place, and diametrically opposed to local views in the neighbourhood plans.”

The application followed consent for 23 houses on the former social club and Public Inquiry into the non-determination of Leeds City Council of the application by Rockspring for 874 houses on Thorp arch Trading Estate. A decision by the Secretary of State is expected next month.

Nobody was available to comment for the applicants.