Hundreds back protest over plan to build flats in ‘garden’ used by Leeds charity

Campaigners at Inkwell in Chapel Allerton

Campaigners at Inkwell in Chapel Allerton

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A campaign has been launched to stop flats being built on land used as a garden by a mental health charity in Leeds.

Plans have been drawn up for a development of nine apartments on land behind Inkwell art centre – the former Shoulder of Mutton pub on Potternewton Lane in Chapel Allerton.

The area is used to grow vegetables for a cafe and provide activities for people with mental health issues who attend the centre, which is run by Mind. It also hosts fundraising events for the centre, which costs £150,000 a year to run.

Now service users, volunteers and local residents are rallying opposition to the plans.

Losa Marl, who has attended Inkwell for four years, said: “I attend because I don’t have any support network. I was very isolated and this was a way to assist my recovery.

“It has given me a reason to get out of bed and out of the house. If I didn’t have this place nobody would know if I got ill. It’s so vital.”

She said a block of flats would mean there would be a “brick wall” directly outside the centre – and taking away the garden may put the centre at risk. “It’s upsetting to think that this could end if the plan goes ahead,” she added.

More than 500 people have signed an online petition against the plans.

But Richard Mowat, of Johnson Brook planning consultants, which has helped draw up the plans, said the development would be “modest”.

He said: “The applicant owns both the Inkwell and the area used as a temporary garden.

“The Inkwell building is leased by Leeds Mind from the applicant, its current use will be retained and the building does not form part of the planning application.

“The lease expires in 2016. Leeds Mind do not support and have not led the campaign against the development.”