Plans to build 2,000 homes on the doorstep of a trio of villages near Wetherby have come before planning chiefs, eight years after similar plans for the same site were thrown out by a planning inspector for being “inherently unsustainable”.
An outline application for the development at Thorp Arch Estate – which could take between 25 and 30 years to complete fully – was presented to councillors at a meeting of Leeds’s city plans panel yesterday. (Sept 27)
There were mixed views on the proposals, which include 35 per cent affordable housing and the building of a new relief road to offset increased traffic and divert it away from the nearby villages Thorp Arch, Walton and Boston Spa.
Members of the panel gave tentative approval to the overall scheme, but many stressed this was only because the city has been set a target by the Government to build 70,000 new homes.
The meeting heard that the scheme had received 136 letters of objection.
Locals from Thorp Arch village have also set up an action group to fight the proposals, after complaints they weren’t consulted enough. A consultative forum set up earlier this year features representatives of developer Rockspring, local parish councils and local councillors.
The meeting heard that Walton and Boston Spa parishes have backed the scheme, however Thorp Arch parish council has expressed serious concerns.
It has submitted a 50-page objection referring back to the planning inspector’s original findings of unsustainability, and expressing fears that the relief road will be “ineffective”.
Coun Elizabeth Nash stressed she would prefer new affordable homes to be built in areas like her inner city Hunslet ward, but developers just don’t want to build there. She added: “I am disappointed to hear that it could take 25 years.”
Coun David Blackburn said: “On the face of it, if done right, it could be sustainable. But it has got to be done perfectly right.”