Capitol Park Leeds: Morley's 24/7 industrial estate gets planning approval despite nearly 400 objections

Controversial plans to build a huge new industrial estate in Morley will go ahead after being approved by Leeds councillors at the third time of asking.

The scheme will see Capitol Park, close to Junction 28 of the M62, expanded northwards onto vacant farmland, despite nearly 400 objections.

Developers claim the move will create 2,000 jobs and they’ve pledged multi-million pound upgrades for the local transport network.

But opponents of the scheme claimed noise and light from the estate’s 24/7 operations will disrupt the lives of nearby residents.

An artist's impression of the new Morley industrial estate

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A Leeds City Council plans panel had twice delayed making a final decision on the plans, in a bid to secure more concessions from developers.

The applicants, Sterling Capitol, did budge on some sticking points, including agreeing to reduce the height of some of the proposed warehouses from around 22m (72ft) to 18m (60ft)

But Morley North councillor Robert Finnigan told a panel meeting on Thursday it was “unrealistic” to suggest night-time noise from reversing HGVs at the estate wouldn’t cause nuisance.

Planning permission for the 24/7 industrial estate has been approved

Council officers have concluded that noise levels would be “comfortably” within its acceptable guidelines, despite the fact up to 350 HGVs are expected to use the site each night.

Councillor Finnigan, who represents the Morley Borough Independents (MBI), said: “The residents will tell you that if this goes ahead it will be pumping out CO2 like there’s no tomorrow, which is clearly in breach of our (the council’s) climate emergency declaration.

“They’ll say they’re in a situation where this noise will be intolerable.

“We’re agreeing to 24/7 operations and to say we can somehow undo that damage sometime later on in the game is in my view fanciful.”

The finer details of the scheme, including the exact layout and size of some of the buildings on the development, will be decided at a later stage.

But councillors on the panel voted to agree to the principle of development by a margin of seven-to-two on Wednesday.

Labour councillor Neil Walshaw said conditions should be put in place to minimise noise levels and “aesthetics” for the benefit of the site’s neighbours.

But speaking in support of the plans, he added: “Every issue we’ve brought to light as a panel has been, in effect, answered by the applicants.

“There’s not much to my mind that isn’t policy compliant here, that can’t be addressed (later).”