COUNCILLORS fear plans for a new restaurant near Leeds Bradford Airport could drive trade out of a suburban town centre.
Two of the three Otley and Yeadon ward members have voiced concerns over Airport West (Leeds) Ltd’s proposals for an out-of-town restaurant at its Airport West Business Park, in Warren House Lane, Yeadon.
But despite the fact Leeds City Council’s own local planning review deems that the business park is for employment purposes only, which does not include restaurant use, the authority’s planners have recommended the plans be approved. The plans will go before the council’s South and West Plans Panel on Thursday.
The scheme would create 75 new jobs and develop a vacant site on the corner of Warren House Lane and Harrogate Road into restaurant selling a carvery buffet among other things with an adjoined 100-space car park.
In his objection to the plans, Coun Sandy Lay (Lib Dem, Otley and Yeadon) claimed that the development would impact Yeadon’s “already fragile High Street” and set a precedent he is not prepared to support.
“I have some sympathy for the developer’s inability to market the current site for offices in the recent and current business environment,” he said. “I believe however that with the impending connectivity of the airport moving forward the future of this site will be more marketable and viable for office development.”
Coun Colin Campbell (Lib Dem, Otley and Yeadon) has also submitted an objection citing that a restaurant at the site is “unsustainable and contrary to national and local policy”.
The site, which sits adjacent to Leeds Bradford Airport, has existing planning consent for office development although a current lack of demand has led to an alternative plan being sought.
Occupiers of offices at Airport West Business Park such as Jack Lunn (Properties) Ltd and Westcourt Properties Ltd have, however, stated a restaurant will prove a welcome addition.
In a report to the South and West Plans Panel, the council’s chief planning officer said that while the plans are a “departure” from the council’s Unitary Development Plan, the impact on the town centre would be “minimal”. The report said: “This proposal will provide more jobs than an employment use on the site so in this instance the scheme in principle is considered acceptable.”