Plans for 700 houses set to be refused

Leeds Civic Hall, where planning applications are discussed by the plans panel.
Leeds Civic Hall, where planning applications are discussed by the plans panel.

A recommendation to reject plans for 700 houses has come from planning officers ahead of this week’s plans panel.

A report released from the chief planning officer says the proposed development at East Scholes, which would include health care and education facilities, is premature and would adversely impact the character of the village.

Scholes and Barwick parish council chair Ben Hogan  (120321M2)

Scholes and Barwick parish council chair Ben Hogan (120321M2)

The recommendation for refusal comes before the city plans panel next week (August 28), when the application will be formally discussed.

Scholes and Barwick parish council is welcoming the report, and chair Ben Hogan said he hopes the panel will follow it and save a village beset by development.

“I am totally for what the report says and I am hoping that it will get rejected by the panel and they will be told to look elsewhere,” he said.

“When you think about it, there are 700 houses there, 45 at the back of the school, and 400 or so on the Bramley Fields site in our parish, so you are talking about 1,200 plus houses in a village that has only one main road, part of which is extremely narrow.

“It certainly won’t be sustainable, bearing in mind trying to get onto the A64 now is quite difficult. We would finish up prisoners in our own village.

“There are several other places we have put forward where it is not going to cause this kind of problem, but building 700 houses in a village like Scholes would be absolutely ludicrous.”

The application, submitted by the Scholes Development Company Ltd. with Barratt Homes and David Wilson Homes in March 2014, targets a protected area of search (PAS) that has not been highlighted by LCC as part of their five year housing land supply.

And, according to the council’s executive member for planning Coun Peter Gruen, once their core strategy is approved it will allocate sites for future housing, and the East Scholes site must take its place within that process.

“In the opinion of officers it is premature and should be rejected at present because all the work on site allocations is currently taking place and that work has not yet been concluded, and for that reason we shouldn’t consider it,” he said.

“For PAS there has to be exceptional reasons why we would consider a planning application and normally it would be that either they are directly linked to existing settlements or they are not particularly large.

“What we are saying in that report is that the right time isn’t now. We would be wrong according to policy to act prematurely - that is what the report is saying and that is what the panel will have to decide.”

The plans panel meeting will be held at 1.30pm in Leeds Civic Hall room six and is open to the public.

A David Wilson spokesman said: “Should LCC refuse our application we would need to review the details of this decision, alongside the receipt of the inspector’s report on the core strategy.

“We will review the report to consider the impact that this will have on our current planning applications in Leeds and following this work we will consider the appropriate action moving forward.

“Both LCC and the development industry agree there is a need for significant new homes across Leeds and David Wilson Homes is committed to playing our part to ensure these needs are delivered.”