Leeds woodland housing plan faces backlash

Objectors Martin Calvert, Peter and Robbie Foulston and Joan and Mervyn Clayton.
Objectors Martin Calvert, Peter and Robbie Foulston and Joan and Mervyn Clayton.
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Plans for a housing development in fields surrounded by woodland in north Leeds have prompted a flood of objections after a campaign by conservationists.

Hundreds of people have registered their disapproval with Leeds City Council over an outline application to build 14 homes on greenfield land off Gledhow Valley Road in Chapel Allerton.

The Friends of Gledhow Valley Woods group carried out a letter-drop to encourage residents to object to the plans.

Members say the development would damage a vital “green corridor” and have an impact on wildlife.

Chairman Martin Calvert said: “It’s a proper green corridor in the middle of what is otherwise an urban part of Leeds and that is increasingly rare.

“It’s a feel-good place and it’s a fantastic area for wildlife. It’s a special place for a lot of people and that’s why so many of them have responded.”

Traffic problems and the potential impact on school places as well as the loss of green space are among the concerns raised in the raft of objections to the council.

A resident of nearby Norfolk Mount wrote: “Surely it is not necessary to try and cover every piece of green space with bricks and concrete.”

Another, who lives on Allerton Grange Walk, said: “Highway safety will be an issue as there will be increased traffic, inadequate parking and this will further adversely impact the environment.”

The Catholic Diocese of Leeds, which has owned part of the land for several decades after running a children’s home on what is now the Allerton Park development above the plot, has joined forces with a private landowner to draw up the plans.

Kevin Anderson, property administrator for the diocesan charity, said: “We want to make sensible use of spaces which are no longer required by the charity.

“We need to do what’s best for the charity and maintaining pieces of land that don’t serve a purpose is not in our best interests.

“The local residents and the Friends of Gledhow Valley Woods are more than entitled to object.”

He added that the diocese may appeal if the plan is rejected.

A decision is expected to be taken next month.

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