Leeds: 700 homes plan debate as inquiry date looms

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Controversial plans to build 700 homes near an east Leeds village are to be scrutinised by senior councillors this week ahead of a public inquiry.

As reported in the YEP previously, the proposals for hundreds of homes in East Scholes were thrown out by Leeds City Council planning chiefs last year after 2,500 people objected.

The decision-making committee ruled at the time that the proposal was too big for the village and building on the site - which is designated a Protected Area of Search - was “premature” in the context of the overall need for developable land in the city.

The council has since published its Site Allocations Plan, a sprawling masterplan which identifies pieces of land across the city which can be developed in order to reach target of 70,000 new homes by 2028.

However the developer appealed the decision, and the application - along with three others rejected by Leeds City Council - will be the subject of a public inquiry in early 2016.

A meeting of the City Plans Panel this Thursday will be presented with an updated dossier of evidence designed to endorse and re-inforce the panel’s original decision ahead of the appeal hearing. The report says the East of Scholes site “was not considered to be acceptable as it failed to meet accessibility standards in respect of access to employment, secondary education, town and city centres and there are sequentially preferable housing sites”.

It adds: “Central to the context of this appeal is the matter of the delivery of housing in a sustainable and planned way.

“Leeds has a target of 70,000 homes across the plan period and is committed to delivering this target.”

The report acknowledges granting permission for the Scholes development “would boost the supply of housing land”.

But it adds: “This weight is reduced by the fact that the land is not needed within the current five year housing land supply and other sites are considered to be sequentially preferable.

“Furthermore the release of the site would cause substantial harm to the plan making process and the Council’s sustainable development strategy.”