Fears over North Leeds golf club’s ‘Center Parcs-style’ development

Villagers fighting a golf club’s plans to build holiday cottages say they fear it could effectively turn the venue into “Center Parcs”.

By David Spereall
Wednesday, 27th April 2022, 8:11 pm
Updated Friday, 29th April 2022, 6:57 pm

Leeds Golf Centre in Wike, just north of Shadwell, want to put up 35 single-storey “eco lodges” to cater for overnight guests.

But objectors have come out swinging against the plans and have flagged several concerns, saying local infrastructure could be overwhelmed.

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Leeds Golf Centre.

City council officers have agreed and suggested the plans be refused on the grounds they’d be an “innappropriate development” on greenbelt land.

A decision on the plans was due to be made this month but then delayed, with a final call now expected to be made on May 12.

The scheme has been backed by the likes of Yorkshire County Cricket Club (CCC).

But Wike resident Stephen Cirell said the plans represented “Naked encroachment onto the green belt.”

He said: “Everyone is up in arms about it. There’s not a single person in the village who supports this. We just want to try and make sure it doesn’t go ahead.

“It would turn the golf club into a Center Parcs of sorts.

“Wike has 38 houses and it would double the size of the hamlet overnight if this was to be built.”

The golf club’s plans also include an extension to its clubhouse, which would include a two-storey driving range for members.

The car park would also be expanded from 204 to 230 spaces, with an extra 41 separate parking bays set aside for guests using the lodges.

Mr Cirell, 61, said that traffic was among the group’s key concerns, given the lack of public transport to and from the village and the fact all visitors will have to drive to the club.

He claimed: “The golf club has not made any attempt to engage with us whatsoever. They haven’t held any public meetings.

“They’ve just put the pictures up in the golf club, so you’d have to physically go there to see them.”

The golf centre is run by the Leeds property firm, The Parklane Group.

They said the proposed number of lodges had been reduced from 37 to 35, and that the lodges themselves would all be carbon neutral.

Naveen Ahmed, the company’s managing director, said: “Our revised plans are more sympathetic and in keeping with the natural surroundings and we have reduced the size of the clubhouse among other amendments after listening to feedback from local residents and stakeholders.

“These changes don’t detract from what could be an incredible addition to Leeds in terms of sport, leisure tourism and healthy outdoor activity.

“We’re passionate about Leeds and willing to see investment go in to projects we truly believe will make a difference – and we feel this will.”

There have been a total of 97 comments supporting the application, with 67 objecting.

Writing in 2018, when the plans were first conceived, Yorkshire CCC’s then chief executive Mark Arthur said: “The cricket club uses the facilities for corporate golf days, and our players have the benefit of membership.

“The eco lodges will give people and companies the opportunity to have on site accommodation, which will extend their stay in the area and provide a wonderful golf and leisure experience.”

But the Leeds Civic Trust came out against the plans, saying: “Although we understand the business logic for them, we are not persuaded that the lodges are appropriate within the green belt.

They added: “Any major expansion in the use of the club, with no public transport available, will inevitably lead to additional traffic to the site.”