East Leeds plans row goes to court

The house which is the subject of a dispute with Leeds City Council.

The house which is the subject of a dispute with Leeds City Council.

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A long-running planning wrangle centred on a house Leeds City Council has tried to have demolished is to rumble on.

The council and the applicant, Ian Gordon, are locked in dispute over the height of the three-storey property built in The Drive, Cross Gates, and the issue is heading back to the High Court on a date to be fixed.

Councillors have rejected the latest scheme to alter the house and have agreed planning officers can refuse the application, although no action will be taken until the outcome of the court hearing is known.

The saga started in 2005 when permission was given to build a house on the site but the property constructed was not in keeping with the consent.

A report to the council’s east plans panel said a revised scheme to retain what had been built was rejected by a planning inspector. The council then issued an enforcement notice requiring demolition and an appeal against that was dismissed.

The matter ultimately went to the High Court where the council sought an injunction requiring demolition, but it was not granted and Mr Gordon undertook to submit a fresh planning application.

The panel heard Mr Gordon now proposed to alter the house by setting the front elevation back by 0.9m, the rear by 0.8m, cap the basement so it was not accessible and fit obscure glazing to side windows.

But the council remains concerned over the height, insisting it is taller than the 10.4m allowed and will spoil the character and appearance of the area - a view disputed by the applicant.

Michael Watts, representing Mr Gordon, said the 2005 permission, which represented a clear fall back position, allowed for a house 9.3m wide, 11.6m deep and 10.4m high and that was the baseline for the current application.

He said once the ground was returned to its original level, the building would be 10.4m high.

Professor Eamon Judge, of the Cross Gates Watch Residents Association, said the height far exceeded the approved 2005 plan.

Coun Peter Gruen (Lab, Cross Gates and Whinmoor) said the house was a “monstrosity” and added: “There’s nothing whatsoever in favour of this application.”

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