Planning inspector set to make final decision on disputed Leeds faith centre bid after council delays

The former Ice Pak site, in Barkly Road, Beeston.
The former Ice Pak site, in Barkly Road, Beeston.
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Controversial plans for a multi-faith community centre to be built at the site of a former factory in Beeston will go before a planning inspector.

Aspiring Communities, the charity behind the plans, has asked for its application to build on the Ice Pak site, in Barkly Road, to be considered at a public inquiry after Leeds City Council delayed its final decision on the plans.

Over a year has passed since the organisation submitted plans for the facility – featuring a sports hall, prayer room and offices – which objectors claim there is little demand for and could cause traffic problems.

The long-running saga took its latest turn in September when a ruling on the plans at the council’s south and west plans panel was postponed at short notice.

An Aspiring Communities statement said it has applied for ‘non-determination’ of the application, which will see the decision made by an inspector, after a communication breakdown with the council.

It said: “We have been left with no alternative but to appeal on the grounds of non-determination because we are no nearer a decision.”

An initial application by the charity was withdrawn, but the revised plans have proved no less contentious with nearly 2,800 people – including MP Hilary Benn and local councillors – objecting.

Community forum Save Our Beeston opposes the plans. A spokesperson said: “They [Aspiring Communities] have not given any due consideration to the community that they have decided to inflict this unwanted planning application upon and all the ramifications that go with it.”

A council spokesman added: “The appeal is in its early stages and as yet there are no time scales for when it will be heard. An update on this planning application will be provided at a future meeting of the south and west plans panel to determine what representations the council will make at the appeal.”