Leeds students in controversial new flats could have to sign 'good behaviour clauses' after 107 children from nearby primary school object to plans

Index House in Burley Road could soon become a seven-storey student accommodation building, with 57 bed spaces, according to developer Torison - but there may be a catch for residents.

Saturday, 26th June 2021, 7:42 am
Updated Saturday, 26th June 2021, 7:46 am
Index House in Burley Road

The controversial plans to build more student accommodation in Burley are set to go before Leeds City Council decision-makers at a meeting next week.

The development would comprise a mix of “cluster apartments” and studio apartments, as well as communal lounge and kitchen facilities.

But local councillors, an MP and even nearby schoolchildren have objected against the plans.

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Pupils from a primary school nearby have objected to the plans

Indeed, the council has received 38 letters of representation against the scheme, as well as objections from 107 pupils of Rosebank Primary School.

But council officers have claimed the management company would insert “good behaviour clauses” into the contracts of tenants to help ease any concerns around antisocial behaviour.

Leeds city councillors Kayleigh Brooks (Lab) and Abigail Marshall-Katung (Lab) claimed the building would be out of proportion with its surroundings, and that there were already too many purpose built student accommodation blocks in the area. They also raised safeguarding concerns, as some rooms would overlook a school playground nearby.

Others who had objected on the grounds of its proximity to the school are council deputy leader Jonathan Pryor (Lab) and Leeds Central MP Hilary Benn (Lab).

Mr Benn commented on the newest version of the plans: “I would like to express my support for the objections that have been submitted to this revised planning application on behalf of the Little Woodhouse Community Association and Rosebank Primary School.

“Despite the revisions that have been made, I still think it is inappropriate for the site and overlooks the school to an unacceptable extent.”

However, a report by Leeds City Council officers said the scheme should be accepted, and that “existing residents would not be adversely affected”.

It added: “It is not considered that the number of students proposed would result in an excessive concentration of students that would undermine the wellbeing of the area within the context of a busy mixed use, edge of city centre environment.

The report also noted that the Council's Children Safeguarding Officer advised that the primary school-adjacent location was not in itself unacceptable - and there are "numerous examples of development taking place in close proximity to schools".

“Furthermore, the Safeguarding Officer considers that student development is preferable to residential development as issues regarding behaviour of residents can be strictly controlled through tenancy agreements and issues arising quickly and effectively dealt with.”

It added that the managers of the site offered to include “good behaviour clauses” into tenants’ contracts, and that students breaching these rules would be removed. Additionally, all windows in eyesight of the school playground would be fitted with obscured glazing.

The report concludes: “These changes together with appropriate operation and construction management plans are considered sufficient to address these concerns to an extent where the impact on the school will not of a level of significance such that would warrant the refusing of planning permission.

Members of the South and West Plans Panel will meet on Thursday, July 1 to discuss the plans.