Leeds village homes plan branded a “trojan horse” by locals is sent back to drawing board

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PLANS for a trio of brand new homes on a piece of green space in a Leeds village have been sent back to the drawing board by a decision-making council panel, after locals claimed they were akin to a “trojan horse” and would “crowd out” existing families.

The blueprint for three detached houses in Church Drive, East Keswick, drew a lengthy debate from members of Leeds City Council’s North and East plans panel yesterday after people living in the area made impassioned pleas for it to be thrown out.

Jake Fowler told the committee the proposal was “grandiose” and like a “trojan horse”, which would “encroach” on local life and “crowd us out”.

He said the piece of land was too small for what was being proposed, and equivalent to “two tennis courts being overdeveloped”.

Fellow campaigner Sue Jones said she had grown up in the area and “played on that land as a child”.

She said locals has always known the grass patch as a green - although it has no legal status as such - and “if this goes ahead, all I will see is bricks”.

“Green open space makes a difference to our lives and it will be lost,” she added.

A spokesman for the applicant JWT Developments Ltd Developer said it was a “very minor development and it is compliant with the council’s adopted standards”.

Councillor Stuart McKenna said there was “too much on there” for the size of the land, pointing to a boundary line close to the nearest home in Church Drive.

Coun John Procter commented that the plan was “fulfilling the developers’ need and not the needs of the village”.

He said the site was identified as local green space in the neighbourhood plan for the area, and decision-makers “should know what aspirations of communities are in relation to individual sites”.

Coun Kevin Ritchie pointed out that other areas of the city would be very happy with even the bit of oval greenspace that would be left AFTER the development.

But councillor Brian Cleasby said: “This is overdevelopment of a site in a conservation area.”

Chair of the panel Neil Walshaw said there was “a hint of overdevelopment” and “some disquiet” over the need for the development and other associated issues.

The panel voted to defer its decision, subject to further negotiations about the number and and size of the houses, as well as parking and other matters.