Wetherby farmhouse plans unanimously blocked by council

Plans to build a new farmhouse on green belt land in Wetherby have been unanimously rejected by a panel of Leeds city councillors.

Friday, 15th October 2021, 4:45 am
Updated Friday, 15th October 2021, 2:24 pm
The location of the proposed new home. Photo: Google.

Blueprints submitted to the planning authority, which had originally gone before councillors back in May, would have seen the building of a four-bedroom detached house with a double garage on a greenbelt site off Trip Lane, Linton.

The applicants, who run Lilac Farm in Collingham, claimed their current rented farmhouse is under threat of development, and that they need to build a new house on their own land sooner rather than later.

But council officers said they know of no such plans for development, and recommended the plans be rejected, as they were on green belt land.

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Members of the panel did not come to an agreement on the site during the May meeting, as they felt they needed more information.

Speaking at a meeting of Leeds City Council’s North and East Plans Panel this week, an officer said: “The context to the case is integral to the argument of special circumstances. It includes the test as to whether there is an essential need for an agricultural dwelling on that site.

“The context is that we know we are dealing with a long well-established farming enterprise.”

The report, which went before councillors, claimed that this meant there was a “presumption against the grant of planning permission” unless “very special circumstances” could be demonstrated.

The applicants had stated that their reasons for wanting to build were partly due to uncertainty over the future redevelopment of their current home, which was rented from landowners.

But officers claimed there was not sufficient evidence that their home was under threat.

Commenting on the plans, Coun Elizabeth Nash (Lab) said: “This is the longest planning report I have ever read. But I would like to assure my colleagues I have read every single word of it.

“Land in green belt areas is very cheap, because it is for agricultural purposes.

“I know the applicant is going to be disappointed, but they see a way of building a very nice house in a green belt area at a cheaper cost. That cost falls on people.

“We set aside green belt land for our recreation.

“We heard special circumstances about the uncertainty of the tenancy, but I think it is very tenuous at the moment – we need far more than that.

“Even if we do, we have to weigh up whether we are going to allow building on green belt land – we have to draw a line.”

Coun Peter Carlill (Lab) added: “From what I have heard, this is a reasonably standard practice in this form of tenancy.

I have every sympathy for them, because I wouldn’t like to live under one of these types of tenancy, but I don’t know whether it is our point to question the tenancy that it is under.

“I don’t think there is evidence of need for them to have to live at that site compared to a different one.”

All members of the panel unanimously voted to reject the proposals.

Richard Beecham , Local Democracy Reporting Service