Café plan for former Leeds public loo site isn’t to everyone’s taste

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A FORMER public toilet in an affluent Leeds suburb could be given a new life - as a café.

Planning chiefs have received an application for a new two-storey café in Princess Avenue, Roundhay.

The site is the vacant former toilet block next to Oakwood District Centre, and sits within the boundaries of Roundhay Park.

However not everyone is happy with the plans, with 44 people submitting official objections on a range of issues including a lack of additional parking.

Some commentators have even raised questions about the legality of the application, referring to an ancient covenant which they say restricts the development of houses or business on any part of the park land.

A report to be presented to the North and East Plans Panel tomorrow says it is up to the original landowners - who sold the site to the council in 1872, before it was re-sold in 2009 - to enforce any covenant. It also says any pre-existing covenants would not affect the application in question.

Other objectors say the proposed café has “an incongruous design harmful to the character and appearance of the area”. Some objectors feel there is “no need for another restaurant in such proximity to the local centre”. Others warn that the new building would be “harmful” to the setting of the Oakwood Clock Tower, and “counter active” to recent efforts to renovate the feature.

And, despite the site now being in new private ownership, some locals want to see it returned to its previous use. One objector quoted in the report says: “A public toilet in this location is urgently needed.”

However, despite the concerns, council officers are recommending approval of the scheme, which they conclude is “an innovative solution that would enhance the visual amenity” of the park and its surroundings.

Sarah Champion MP

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