Leeds developments: Controversy around new housing estate off Leeds Liverpool Canal in Rodley continues

Controversy surrounding plans to build a housing estate in Rodley has continued as three councillors voiced concerns about the development.

By Rebecca Marano
Friday, 18th March 2022, 4:30 pm

Outline planning permission was granted back in 2019 to build 66 homes on the former Airedale Mills site, which is just off Moss Bridge Road.

The 19th century mill structures were demolished in the late 2000s, and the brownfield site has stood vacant ever since.

Work to replace the manually operated swing bridge over the Leeds Liverpool Canal, which currently only allows one vehicle to cross at a time, began in January 2022.

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Controversy surrounding plans to build a housing estate in Rodley has continued as three councillors voiced concerns about the development. Pictured is ongoing work on the swing bridge over the canal.

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First look at plans for new housing development near Rodley Nature Reserve - but...

Concerns have already been raised by the Rodley Nature Reserve Trust about protecting the wildlife, while Leeds Civic Trust criticised the designs as "suburban" and neighbouring property owners in the area also submitted objection comments.

Now three councillors from the area have spoken out regarding some of the issues they have with the development.

Councillor for the Bramley and Stanningley Ward, Kevin Ritchie, sent a letter outlining his opposition to the scheme on March 3, 2022.

Concerns have already been raised by the Rodley Nature Reserve Trust about protecting the wildlife.

He raised concerns about the quality of greenspace being offered on the site, visitor parking and the boundary treatments, which he said are not "aesthetically pleasing".

Councillor Ritiche said: "The greenspace proposed does not meet the quality test.

"Greenspace should include areas for recreational play, particularly in a development with family housing such as this. Recognising the constraints of the site, it is therefore appropriate to make an off‐site contribution to improve the facilities at the nearby Rodley Park."

Calverley & Farsley Ward councillors Andrew Carter and Amanda Carter also submitted a request that the application is referred to a full plan panel meeting for decision.

The councillors said this is due to several reasons including making sure there is "adequate protection" for neighbours living opposite the site and to make sure there is enough protection for the ecological belt of green space.

They also stated their opposition to the proposed apartment bock which would be built towards the entrance of the site. It would be the largest building within the development and will be four-storey in height.

In the joint letter, the councillors stated: "We wish to oppose the 16 unit block of flats and car parking which are over dominant adjacent to the nature reserve and Rodley Cricket Club and introduce far too much development close to these amenities.

"We are pleased to note that the work to the bridge is apparently ahead of schedule but would remind the Planning Department and the developer that Rodley Cricket Club has been assured that these works will be complete on time to facilitate the upcoming cricket season."

The Rodley Nature Reserve Trust has raised a number of concerns throughout the planning process, particularly stressing the need for more information on how the wildlife reserve will be protected.

Its latest objection, published on February 18, stated that construction workers have been conducting tree clearance and called for work on the site to be "discontinued immediately."

The letter read: "We need assurances as to how the ecology buffer along the banks of the Aire is protected from damage during the construction work on the site.

"The measures used to ensure this protection must be enforced on the builders, but how is this to be done?

"We need to discover how the ecology buffer area is to be separated from the housing area and protected in perpetuity. Clear evidence needs to be provided as to how this is to be done, monitored and paid for.

"The nature of the dividing fences needs to be stipulated and assurances are required as to their likely effectiveness.

"Methods used to prevent access of cats and other domestic animals onto the reserve need describing in detail

It continued: "The need for clear obligations to be placed on the developers as regards the protection of environmental aspects of the development is highlighted by the fact that today (9th February) workers on behalf of the developers were on the site conducting tree clearance work.

"This appears to be in clear contravention of the outline planning permission granted in 2019

"Our particular concern is that the ecology buffer which is required by the outline permission may be seriously damaged before the full permission is even granted. Accordingly we would request that all work on the site be discontinued immediately and not started until full planning permission is agreed.

"The cavalier attitude of the developers in commencing work without planning permission arouses concerns that the environmental/wildlife aspects of the development will not be respected without the imposition of clear obligations to protect the ecology buffer of the site."

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