Plans for an ambitious 17-storey tower comprising more than 150 homes, along with a gym, cafe and roof terrace is set to be discussed by Leeds City Council decision-makers this week.
But residents near the Clay Pit Lane site are fighting back against the plans, with dozens of objections, including an intervention from local MP Hilary Benn, claiming the area is already too busy.
Applicants Engie Ltd wants to build a part-17-storey building containing a mix 151 one, two and three-bedroom flats on the council-owned site.
A report by authority officers claims discussions with the developers have gone on “for some time”, and that several changes have been made to the plans since they were initially submitted in December 2017.
Leeds Central MP Hilary Benn sent an objection to the plans to the council, stating: “I have received representations from my constituents expressing concern about the proposed new development at Clay Pit Lane/Primrose Circle.
“The concerns that have been expressed to me relate to the height of the building and the overlooking and shadowing that will result, problems of parking and a lack of general amenities.
“I would be grateful if you could take these objections into account in considering this application.”
Residents have also put together a petition, with more than 100 signatures, adding that the area is already overdeveloped and the plans would involve losing green space.
One resident, who lived in Amber Close, Sheepscar, wrote: “I am strongly against this project because I believe it will have negative impacts on the
current residents in this area.
“The area is already crowded and there are many buildings and houses in the neighbourhood. There are also many roads, motorways and dual carriageways in the area, producing lots of CO2 emissions for the residents.
“Please, do not reduce our already limited green areas and clean air, which will have a significant effect in the long run for a huge number of local residents.”
Another claimed that the area would lose a number of trees should the development go ahead, adding: “The council has recently declared a “climate emergency” but it appears this doesn’t extend to doing anything to help the environment.”
The initial pre-application from 2017 was for a single eleven storey block of 213 residential units with associated parking, green space and commercial
The council report said: “Following a number of concerns raised at the time relating to the loss of the bund and the proposed scale and massing, the applicant produced two draft re-design options and this was presented to Planning Board in May 2018.”
The latest plans include 92 one bed or studio apartments, 47 two bed apartments and 12 three bed apartments. It adds that 20 car parking spaces, as well as a “public pocket park” with amenity space.
The developers’ design and access statement claims: “The proposed scheme looks to create a coherent street elevate on to both sides of this prominent site. The building element fronting onto Clay Pit Lane looks to the principle of
previously approved outline planning providing an element of tall building whilst the rear of the site is sympathetic to the residential scale existing buildings.
It adds that the plans provide an opportunity to redevelop space that is currently “subject to misuse and is unsafe” and provide “purpose built homes of varying size close to the city centre with great access to local
amenities and transport.”
A decision will not be made at this week’s meeting however, as issues around how the building would mitigate wind issues are yet to be resolved.
The report by council officers states: “It is also noted that the wind report refers to some funnelling of wind along open aspects of Clay Pit Lane which will combine with the corner effects of the building in the prevailing wind direction. It is not clear whether there is any worsening of the wind effect on the adopted highway.”
It added: “At the time of writing there remains uncertainty in terms of the impact of the development on the surrounding micro-climate and the impact upon public safety including funnelling along Clay Pit Lane.”
The report concludes: “The redevelopment of this site will complete the original regeneration programme and help frame the circus as it was originally intended.
“The modified development is considered to be more acceptable in visual and amenity terms, and appears to present an appropriate transition in scale between the edge of city centre and more suburban scale developments beyond. It is recognised that the loss of the existing bund and trees is contentious.
“On balance however, the provision of a public pocket park with amenity space, seating and re-contoured landscape, providing informal recreation, natural surveillance and improved connectivity appears to provide justification for this loss.”
A final decision, once wind issues have been resolved, is expected in the coming months.