Relief for top Leeds primary school as student flats bid rejected

One of Leeds’ top primary schools and a neighbouring recovery centre have breathed a sigh of relief, after plans to build a huge block of student flats on their doorstep were rejected.

By David Spereall
Sunday, 7th August 2022, 9:53 am

Both Rosebank Primary School, on Westfield Road, and The Five Ways Recovery Academy had objected to the proposals, which they claimed would have a significant impact on the education of their pupils and treatment for the recovery of drug and alcohol addicts.

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The scheme would have seen the neighbouring Index House on Burley Road, which currently accommodates an off-licence rebuilt and extended to six storeys, up from its current two-and-a-half storeys. The site lies just a short walk away from campus buildings on the edge of the city centre.

Objectors claimed the building would overlook and overshadow its neighbours and would cause a safeguarding issue for children at the school. Picture: Google.

Objectors claimed the building would overlook and overshadow its neighbours and would cause a safeguarding issue for children at the school, which was named in a Sunday Times’ list of the top 10 primaries in Leeds earlier this year.

Meanwhile, the Five Ways Academy said clients would lose their confidentiality and privacy and that their recovery programmes would have to be halted during construction because of the noise.

A Leeds City Council plans panel unanimously refused the application on Thursday, after advice given by planning officers.

Speaking afterwards, Deryk Piper, Rosebank’s vice chair of governors, said: “For the last three or four years this has been hanging over the school, and if you look at the plans it would have (literally) been hanging over the school.

“Leeds is supposed to be a child-friendly city and when we first saw this application we thought, “Absolutely no way.”

“We’re not anti-student but we feel the area could do with a bit of a rebalance, because everything going up around us at the moment is student accommodation.”

Helen Mason, lead practitioner at the Five Ways Recovery Academy, said: “We are relieved. I was on the verge of tears when councillors made the decision.

“The service is like a second home for some people and this decision has kept that safe, kept their privacy and their confidentiality.”

The school, recovery centre and several members of the plans panel praised local Labour councillor Kayleigh Brooks, of the Little London and Woodhouse ward, for helping to stop planning permission being given for the development.

Last year, the council’s planning officers had recommended it be approved, because they were completely unaware of the rehab centre’s existence.

During the debate about the plans then, Coun Brooks crucially flagged up the potential impact on the centre, which eventually resulted in officers’ changing their advice.

Senior planning officer Steve Butler apologised for the “error” at Thursday’s meeting. He said Covid was partly to blame as staff were unable to visit sites in person during the pandemic.

Responding to the verdict of the plans panel, Coun Brooks said: “I’m absolutely delighted the refusal has been passed today.

“It’s been a proper community effort to get this turned down and it’s really good to see the planning system working as it should.”