Developers of controversial Leeds industrial estate says the scheme will create 2,000 jobs and benefit the area

The company behind plans to build a new industrial estate on rural land in Leeds has insisted it will not become home to huge manufacturing units after the proposal attracted hundreds of objections by local residents.

Monday, 22nd November 2021, 1:33 pm
Updated Monday, 22nd November 2021, 1:34 pm

Sterling Capitol’s detailed plans to build on 95-acres of land in Morley, including more than a million sq ft of “employment floorspace” as well as car parking, landscaping and links to nearby roads, are due to go before Leeds City Council’s City Plans Panel on Thursday (25th) .

The commercial property firm said the development will create 2,000 ‘high-quality and sustainable' jobs.

It will be an extension of Capitol Park Leeds, by Junction 28 of the M62, which is home to Barratt Homes’ headquarters, Hermes, De Puy, The Village Hotel and NHS Shared Business Services.

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The proposed scheme will be decided on this week.

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Local residents are worried about the scheme’s impact on nearby traffic and the destruction of a much-loved beauty spot.

The site sits next to a Carlsberg Tetley distribution site, a busy industrial building with crates piled outside and lorries driving in and out.

Speaking to The Yorkshire Post, Paul Beckett, head of development at Sterling Capitol, said: “This isn’t what we’re trying to create and this is what’s probably giving local residents the wrong perception. The new buildings won’t have mass outdoor storage and big floodlights.

“What we want to create is a well-maintained and special facility. The biggest building in the first phase will be 341,000 sq ft.”

The development is expected to appeal to a wide range of occupiers from small, local businesses up to large, blue-chip companies, which Mr Beckett said would be a welcome inward investment to Morley. Buildings will be constructed both speculatively and on a design and build basis to suit specific occupier’s needs.

He added: “The planning application is for small amounts of light manufacturing so it’s not going to be huge manufacturing units. The aim is to make it clean, tidy and sustainable.”

Sterling Capitol wants to create five buildings with a total floorspace of 1.1m sq ft, as well as 1,315 parking spaces.

This next phase of development land was allocated within Leeds City Council’s adopted 2019 local plan.

Sir Bob Murray, chairman of Sterling Capitol, said: “This is a crucially important development for Morley and south Leeds, creating much-needed jobs, providing a timely boost to the local area’s economy and building back from the pandemic.”

All of the buildings, which will be built by Sterling Capitol’s development partner PLP, will be built to carbon net zero standards.

The plans include the creation of a 30-acre country park with footpaths, benches and attenuation ponds - which are used in new developments to manage stormwater. “It will be a nice place to be so the people who work here can come here on their lunch break and people from Morley can also enjoy it,” said Mr Beckett.

All the existing public rights of way in the area will be kept open and Mr Beckett promised footpaths would be ‘of a standard where you can walk into Morley in summer and winter without it being really muddy’.

Despite the objections, Leeds City Council planning officers have suggested the scheme be approved in principle, subject to conditions. These include the developer contributing more than £1m to nearby road improvements, as well as restrictions on building heights.

“There have been some objections and nothing is ever rubber stamped when it comes to planning committees,” said Mr Beckett. “But there is some support. At the end of the day it’s an allocated site.

Leeds-based Sterling Capitol has developed Capitol Park Barnsley, Capitol Park Goole and Capitol Park Thorne, creating over 3,500 jobs. The company is also working in conjunction with Strata Homes on the Barnsley West residential and commercial development by Junction 37 of the M1, which will create another 2,000 jobs.