Decision in planning saga over Leeds faith-based community centre postponed at last minute

Centre of controversy: The former Ice Pak factory site on Barkly Road, Beeston
Centre of controversy: The former Ice Pak factory site on Barkly Road, Beeston
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The long-running saga surrounding a plan for a faith-based community centre is set to continue after a ruling over its fate was postponed at the last minute.

Leeds City Council’s south and west plans panel was due to decide on Thursday whether to give the go-ahead to the development on the site of the former Ice Pak factory in Barkly Road, Beeston.

But the council issued a notice on Wednesday afternoon saying it was off the agenda and was likely to be considered on September 17 instead.

The notice said: “This is due to the fact we have received representation form the applicants’ agent, and following advice from our legal team, there are some elements of the scheme we want to seek further clarification on.”

The proposals, by charity Aspiring Communities, caused a storm of controversy when they were first put forward in 2013.

Objectors said there was little demand for such a facility – which was to include a sports hall, prayer room and offices – and the development would cause major traffic problems.

The original application was withdrawn, but the revised plans have proved no less contentious with nearly 2,800 people – including MP Hilary Benn and local councillors – objecting.

But Aspiring Communities said it was “disappointed” the decision had been postponed.

Board member Naz Maroof said: “Regardless of the recommendation to refuse it, we were optimistic we would be able to persuade the panel to approve it.”

Robert Winfield, of Beeston Community Forum said: “It doesn’t alter our position – that Aspiring Communities should not be given permission and should not put forward any further applications for that site.”