Care home plan decision delayed

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Plans for two valued Victorian buildings in Headingley to be turned into 32 flats for the elderly have been sent back to the drawing board.

Proposals for the two Moor Road villas, which formerly housed a children’s home and a charity helping asylum seekers, attracted objections from locals, despite the concept of the scheme – designed for the most vulnerable OAPs who need to have a family member staying with them – being broadly welcomed.

However a meeting of a Leeds council planning panel was told the scheme as its stands would impact massively on residents living in the immediate surroundings, with privacy and parking issues being major concerns.

It was also suggested that the council’s planning department had done “nothing to rein in” the application from the Catholic Care – part of Catholic Diocese of Leeds – and this had led to several changes in the original plans which had “made it worse” for locals.

“They didn’t need to worry, hence they have added things,” one concerned homeowner told the panel. He urged a “sensible” reconsideration – a reduction in the number of flats by just two units.

Coun Mick Coulson said he agreed with locals’ concerns, and “the quality of life of people living nearby” had to be taken into account.

Coun Ann Castle added: “I would desperately like to pass this. Catholic Care do a fantastic job. But...I don’t feel we are meeting the concerns of local residents to as high a degree as I’d like to see.”

Colleague Fiona Venner added she would like to see the applicants “try more to meet the needs of neighbours”.

Papers presented to the panel said the two buildings were “substantial” stone built Victorian villas set in large grounds, and were regarded as “significant heritage assets”. However both had been subject to “unsympathetic extensions throughout the 20th century”.

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