South Leeds: New homes strategy blasted as ‘a recipe for congestion’

TAKING THE FIELD: Objectors take to the great outdoors to object for development plans for a greenfield site at Daisy Hill.
TAKING THE FIELD: Objectors take to the great outdoors to object for development plans for a greenfield site at Daisy Hill.
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Battle lines are being drawn over a Leeds housing strategy that many in Morley say will put too much of a burden on the town.

A housing strategy that proposes 7,200 new homes be built in the Morley area over the next 16 years is a recipe for traffic congestion, a councillor has warned.

And Coun Robert Finnigan, leader of the Morley Borough Independents, claims the town is being asked to take more than its fair share of new development.

Leeds City Council is currently drawing up a Local Development Framework (LDF) Core Strategy, a planning blueprint that will help guide development across the city up to 2028.

With the city’s population projected to grow from 755,000 to 859,000 by 2028, the proposed LDF identifies a need for 70,000 new homes and a breakdown indicates 7,200 - 11 per cent of the total - could be built in the outer south west part of the city, which includes Morley and surrounding areas..

Although in an LDF briefing document the council acknowledges house building is subject to market forces and there is no guarantee developers will meet the targets, Coun Finnigan said Morley could not take over 7,000 new homes.

He said: “The development pressure Morley is coming under is intolerable. We are being asked to take an unfair share of the city’s total development.

“The view seems to be that because Morley has a road network including the M62, M621, A650, A653 and A58 and land prices are cheaper than in the north of the city, a lot of development can be bunged our way.

“But the truth is the infrastructure in Morley is creaking.

“Motorway junctions at Gildersome and Tingley are already over burdened, according to the Highways Agency, and struggling to cope. The M62 already gets fouled up and people try to use the A650 instead and it’s just not adequate.

“If you add another 7,000 houses that could result in up to 14,000 extra traffic movements and then you have a strategic traffic problem.”

He said the A653 Dewsbury Road was also coming under development pressure with “all sorts of plans for housing and commercial schemes.”

Coun Finnigan also fears that schools and medical centres in the area would also struggle to cope with an influx of thousands of new residents.

He said: “there are no places available at three primary schools and the impact on local medical centres would be substantial and more NHS funding would be needed.

“It all adds up to a recipe for traffic congestion and overcrowded schools and overcrowded medical centres.”

Coun Finnigan argued that setting aside land for development to meet “fantasy targets” did not make sense.

He acknowledged the need for more homes but said they needed to be “the right houses in the right places” and feared developers would prioritise greenfield sites over brownfield land that needed regeneration.

Hundreds of objectors in the town are already locked in a fight to prevent development on two greenfield sites - at Daisy Hill and Bruntcliffe Road. Both schemes were due to be discussed today by the council’s south and west plans panel.

Members of the council’s east plans panel last month voted to reject the plan for 92 homes at Daisy Hill and asked for formal reasons for refusal to be brought to their next meeting.

Since then the applicants have lodged an appeal and the council has reorganised its plans panels, so the Daisy Hill plan will be dealt with by the new south and west panel.

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