Construction to begin on controversial housing development on farmland near Morley

Construction is set to begin on a controversial housing estate on farmland near Morley.

By Rebecca Marano
Thursday, 20th January 2022, 11:45 am
Updated Friday, 21st January 2022, 11:09 am

Persimmon Homes West Yorkshire plans to begin building the 450 homes on Laneside Farm, just off Victoria Road in Churwell in the Spring of 2022.

The development was approved by Leeds City Council in late October 2021.

The development has been met with criticism in the past, with the city plans panel heard that a total of 917 objections had been received.

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Construction is set to begin on the Laneside Farm development in Churwell in Spring 2022. The development had received criticism in the past but was approved by Leeds City Council in 2021. Photo: Jonathan Gawthorpe.

Complaints included building on greenfield land, concerns about traffic, as well as the increased demand on school places and health services.

Morley and Outwood MP Andrea Jenkyns also wrote to the chief planning officer in 2019 to object to the plans.

Council members voted in the majority in favour of the scheme in October, despite concerns being raised about the appearance of the designs. At the time, Coun Peter Carlill (Lab) said the proposed development was not the “most beautiful estate” and he would not want to live in the area, but he did not find it offensive personally.

“We are not deciding what the best design of houses is, we are deciding whether this application meets the legal framework,” he said. “On the grounds of carbon, you could argue that we shouldn’t build anything ever.”

An artist's impression of the new homes to be built on a former farm in Churwell, near Morley.

Coun Dan Cohen (Con) added: “I believe everybody that lives in our city is entitled to the best-designed properties. I don’t believe these are the best-designed properties.

“On the issue of the appearance, I still have issues – I don’t think they are good enough. I have no problem with the overall layout and scale, but the appearance is still problematic.”

The application was first submitted in July 2019 for 526 dwellings, before being revised and reduced down to 486.

Persimmon Homes revised the scheme again in March 2021, reducing the number down to 450 homes.

According to a report by council officers, the development will be made up of 23 two bed apartments, eight two bed bungalows, 102 two bed semi/terrace houses, 125 three bed semi/terrace houses, 84 three bed detached and 108 four bed semi/terrace/detached houses.

The council’s rules require 15 per cent of new builds to be classed as affordable housing (20 percent cheaper than local market rates) – 68 of these houses would fall into this bracket.

The site would also contain a 1.8 hectare area of land for a primary school to be built in the future.

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Electric vehicle charging points will be installed in all the homes as well as communal charging areas.

The development will feature extensive cycleways and footpaths and 15 per cent of the properties will be allocated for affordable living.

In addition, a sustainable travel plan will be provided to all new residents to encourage the use of public transport, cycling and walking.

Managing director from Persimmon Homes West Yorkshire, Christopher Hull, said: “We have worked closely with Leeds City Council to design a development that provides a range of house types, multiple green spaces, new habitat creation for wildlife to thrive and provides financial provisions to support the local community."

“We will be creating a new community, so it is important that the design is appealing to future home buyers.

"The layout also features a wider than usual spine road to accommodate a bus service, near to the allocated school site, as well as significant stretches of shared footpaths and cycleways.

“Additional community support will see a £1.5 million contribution towards off site highways improvements and more than £2.2 million in the Community Infrastructure Levy, to be spent on the city’s projects, determined by the council.”

Planning and design consultancy Barton Willmore supported Persimmon Homes in its application.

Partner at Barton Willmore, Stuart Natkus, said: “These homes will form a high-quality new community with large areas of open space.

“Persimmon Homes’ approach to this development means it is sensitive to its surroundings and will help promote biodiversity.”

The combined £.3.7 million in financial contributions forms part of Section 106 agreements and community infrastructure contributions.

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