North Leeds flat’s plan due for approval despite objections

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A proposal to convert a former day care facility in Headingley into 26 flats is set to be approved tomorrow despite objections by local residents.

A report to councillors on the South and West Plans Panel has recommended approval for the scheme by Wetherby Estates to convert the currently empty Grove Villas, on Cardigan Road, into a combination of 19 one-bed, four two-bed and three studio flats, subject to conditions.

A total of 42 letters of objection have been submitted to the plan, voicing concerns including the impact of traffic onto nearby Chapel Lane and that it creates more short-term accommodation in an area already “over supplied” with students.

Richard Tyler, secretary of Headingley Neighbourhood Forum, which is among the objectors, pointed out that, at 24-50m sq, the size of the flats is below national and local space guidelines. He said: “They’re just rabbit hutches. No-one will live in them for anything other than short periods of time. One of our major concerns is Headingley is over supplied with short-term accommodation and student accommodation.”

The report to Thursday’s plans panel says officers aimed to address the size of the flats by reducing the original number proposed from 29 to 26.

It also suggests a condition of approval be that the flats can only be occupied by over 21s.

It concludes: “Officers consider that the benefits of bringing the building back into appropriate use and the improvements to the frontage of the building, combined with the contribution to housing provision and the applicant’s constructive attempts to enlarge the size of the units, should be given greater weight than the concern about overall size of the flats and highway safety.”

If approved, the report recommends work begins within 18 months.

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