Apartments plan for former Leeds girls’ school site will ‘drive families out’

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SENIOR councillors have sent the would-be developers of the former Leeds Girls’ High School back to the drawing board - amid concerns that the high number of flats will drive families out of the area.

Stonebridge Homes want to redevelop the main building of the former school in Headingley to create 58 apartments and to build a further 38 townhouses at the site off Victoria Road.

But a planning meeting yesterday heard that the mix of homes was too apartment-heavy - and would discourage families.

Panel members questioned the need to change and resubmit the original plan, which was approved last year.

Councillor Mick Coulson said: “This has changed the whole spectrum of the site.

“We have now got more apartments than ever when we were fighting all the time for family housing. But you have taken a whole block of family housing off and made it into apartments.”

“The 2014 plan had a good balance, the right balance. But you have come back with a totally different plan which has thrown the balance up in the air”.

Coun Javaid Akhtar, a Hype Park Labour councillor, questioned whether “we are trying to attract families ...or push families out?”

However the meeting was told that the previous version of the proposal was a “speculative masterplan” which had now been “worked through” by the developer, and the firm’s aim was still to “rebalance the demographic of the community”.

The panel deferred its decision to allow for further talks about the housing mix, as well as to discuss concerns about parking facilities.

The application in its various forms has come before planning committees and appeals on eight different occasions.