Hundreds of houses planned for Morley farm land

Detailed plans to build 450 homes on farm land near Morley are set to go before Leeds City Council planning chiefs this week.

Tuesday, 6th July 2021, 4:45 am
Updated Tuesday, 6th July 2021, 7:08 am
Leeds Civic Hall
Leeds Civic Hall

A reserved matters application from Persimmon Homes is set to go to the authority’s City Plans Panel, where members will discuss the blueprints for the site off Victoria Road, Churwell.

Council planning officers claim they have encouraged the developer to reduce the number of proposed houses in the development, and have suggested councillors approve the plans in principle.

But hundreds of nearby residents have objected to the plans, which would be built on a green field underneath electricity pylons.

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According to a report by Leeds City Council officers, the development will be made up of 23 two bed apartments, eight two bed bungalows, 102 two bed semi/terrace houses, 125 three bed semi/terrace houses, 84 three bed detached and 108 four bed semi/terrace/detached houses.

The council’s own rules require 15 per cent of new builds to be classed as affordable housing (20 percent cheaper than local market rates) – 68 of these houses would fall into this bracket.

A report into the plans stated: “The site principally comprises agricultural fields that are utilised for pasture and associated with Broad Oaks Farm and the cluster of farm buildings that lie to the east, outside of the red line boundary.

“The site also incorporates high voltage overhead power lines, which runs across it from the southeast to the west, before continuing into the adjoining housing development through Westwood Side.”

This meeting will bring to an end two years of back-and-forth between the developers and Leeds City Council officers.

According to a council document, the application was first submitted in July 2019 for 526 dwellings.

Council planning officers ultimately told Persimmon that “a number of units” would need to be removed from the plans, as it was considered it would mean an “over-development” of the site.

Updated versions of the plans were unsuccessfully presented to council officers: in September 2019 (which removed nine units), and November 2019 (which removed a further six).

Revised plans were then submitted in March 2020, with the number of units reduced down to 486. The scheme was still considered to be unsatisfactory, however, and the applicants were told it would be refused permission.

The applicant has since revised the scheme again to provide 450 houses in March 2021.

Despite this, however, hundreds of objections were still received from nearby residents and councillors, while another letter has been copied and signed by more than 1,000 people.

Complaints range from claims the development is not sustainable, concerns that the site sits under electricity pylons, loss of green space, environmental problems and insufficient infrastructure to support such a large development.

Plans for the site date back to 2017, when developers were given outline planning consent for up to 550 homes - this means the principle of building on the site was approved, subject to more detailed plans being submitted.

Leeds City Council planning officers have deemed the plans acceptable and have encouraged councillors to approve the development.

A report stated: “The amended proposal is considered to be acceptable in terms of the scale, density, layout and design detailing of the proposed dwellings.

“The amendments to the application have significantly reduced the number of dwellings across the site (approximately by 18 percent from the density permitted at Outline stage), and this has allowed a satisfactory layout to be achieved that provides a good mixture of housing that is required within the area.

“The site is an important strategic housing site, and the largest allocation within the south Leeds area and overall the design of the dwellings, together with the proposed layout, provides a housing scheme that responds to the general character.

“With consideration being given to all other matters, the proposal is considered to be acceptable and recommended for approval subject to conditions.”

Councillors are recommended to approve the plans in principle and leave the final details of the agreement to planning officers - known as “defer and delegate”.

Conditions expected to be added to the agreement include details of parking layout, landscaping for a proposed nearby school site and affordable housing mobility.

Leeds City Council’s City Plans Panel is set to discuss the plans on Thursday, July 8.