800 sign petition against Leeds flats plan

Objectors in the garden at Inkwell art centre.
Objectors in the garden at Inkwell art centre.
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Hundreds of people have signed a petition against plans to build flats in a garden used by a mental health charity.

A protest was launched after an application was submitted to Leeds City Council for nine apartments on land behind Inkwell art centre – the former Shoulder of Mutton pub on Potternewton Lane in Chapel Allerton.

And, with the deadline for comments set for January 2, the number of signatures on an online petition has reached about 800.

Dozens more people, including local ward councillors, have formally objected directly to the council.

One signatory of the petition, Simon Stokes, wrote: “I am shocked and saddened by this news.

“Once again money and its lure for a few rule our lives and so we lose more valuable ideas such as the necessity of protecting green public spaces and the promotion of good mental and spiritual health, from which we will all benefit.

“These gardens are a delight to visit and should not be lost.”

Another, Gil Threadgould, said: “I would urge councillors and officials to reject this application as the detrimental effect on the local community and the volunteers who have invested so much of their time and effort into creating a genuinely therapeutic and productive space.”

The garden is used to grow vegetables for a cafe and provide activities for people with mental health issues who attend the centre, which is run by Mind. It also hosts fundraising events for the centre, which costs about £150,000 a year to run.

Richard Mowat, of Johnson Brook planning consultants, which has helped draw up the plans, has said the development would be “modest”.

He said the Inkwell building itself, which Mind has a contract to lease until 2016, would be retained and did not form part of the planning application.

A decision on the plans is expected to be made by the end of next month.