Picnic protest against unwanted 'monster block'
RESIDENTS of an inner-city Leeds estate are to hold a picnic protest against plans for a ‘monster block’ on their doorstep.
Plans for the 16-storey block of flats in Little London have been unanimously rejected by residents at community meetings held by the Little London Tenants and Residents Association.
It also means that 51 mature trees would have to be removed to build the 151 flats, planned by the Home Group. Plans have been submitted to Leeds City Council.
Steve Skinner, chair of the Little London TRA, said planning permission had been submitted for the 16 storey, private apartment block on the edge of the Carltons estate, on a small area of green space known as "the Mound" which divides the homes from the busy Clay Pit Lane and the northern part of the city centre.
Steve said: "Residents and supporters will gather from 1.30pm onwards tomorrow (Sunday 26 May), on Primrose Circus adjacent to the Mound, to eat, play, make music and join together to say, ‘Hands off our green space!’, and ‘No to the private Carltons development'."
The protest follows on a series of meetings on the estate where local people have voiced their anger at the plans and called on politicians for support.
More than 60 objections have now been submitted on Leeds City Council’s online planning site and a mass petition is growing by the day.
The same group of residents also protested in support of the victims of the Grenfell Town Block disaster, in front of Leeds Town Hall.
Steve added: "Little London is on the cusp of the city centre, attractive to profit-hungry developers. But for local people this proposal means over-development on a massive scale.
"The area is already one of the most densely populated parts of the city with nine council high-rise blocks and very few open spaces, and in recent years has suffered constant encroachment of private mega-developments dwarfing the council homes and dominating the skyline.
"These flats are not for council homes or the 20,000 plus people who need them on the council waiting list."
He said the development would require the removal of 51 mature trees which people valued as an important sound and air quality insulator dividing the busy A58 and nearby inner city ring road from their homes.
Kitson Keen, Head of Build to Rent at Home Group, said: “This area has been earmarked for housing development for quite some time now.
"We feel, beyond any doubt, that following engagement in the planning process the plans we have submitted for Carlton Gate will truly enhance its surroundings and add real value to the Little London community.
“Carlton Gate offers much needed housing in the community, with at least 20% of the properties offered for affordable housing. Working with the council we have identified significant demand for this type of development in Little London.
“While we will have to reconfigure the current layout of the land the redesign will offer an attractive and much more usable green space and community hub - not only for those living in the homes but for those in the immediate and surrounding areas.
"Key to the development is that it is integrated into the community. Also, the space will be more bio-diverse than it is currently, with new and replacement planting throughout.
“We fully understand that with new developments like this the community may have concerns.
"Our development philosophy as a social housing association is to place customers and communities at the heart of what we do. We are sure Carlton Gate will become an integrated development that the community of Little London will use and appreciate.”
WHAT RESIDENTS ARE CONCERNED ABOUT
The loss of 51 tress
The pressure on local amenities such as schools and GP surgeries which are currently stretched to breaking point.
Traffic congestion and speeding on Lovell Park Road, and risk to children on an estate never designed to be a thoroughfare, but which would become the only route of access to the 151 new apartments.
The area is already desperately short of parking spaces and has one of the highest levels of parking violation in Leeds.
Residents were dismayed when they learned that plans for the development proposed a mere 20 parking bays for 151 flats.