Wetherby 800 houses application goes back before decision makers

Controversial plans to build 800 houses in Wetherby are set to once again go before a committee of decision-makers in Leeds.
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The plans panel will discuss the outline application for 800 homes, a food shop, a primary school and public spaces off Racecourse Approach in Wetherby.

It comes almost a year after the a hearing in which Wetherby residents against the proposals took a minibus to civic hall to see a hearing into the outline plans for the site. Many had been left disappointed by the panel’s decision to grant the proposals in principle.

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Since then, the panel has met twice more to discuss the plans, with a decision deferred back in July.

Part of the site off Racecourse Approach where the houses are planned.Part of the site off Racecourse Approach where the houses are planned.
Part of the site off Racecourse Approach where the houses are planned.

The report claims the panel had concerns over the lack of vehicular access from York Road, and suggested the applicant should look into buying another piece of land to help build a vehicular access through this part of the site.

It adds that the owner of the land – a third party – had not accepted a bid for the land from developers Taylor Wimpey.

However planning officers have since said the site doesn’t necessarily need the extra access road, and that permission should go ahead with only the other three proposed access roads.

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A report from council officers, set to go before next week’s meeting, stated: “In accordance with the wishes of the Plans Panel the applicant has endeavoured to secure third party land in the south-west corner (of the site).

“However, despite a reasonable offer to purchase the site from the third party landowner, the landowner does not accept the applicant’s offer to purchase the land and is considering offers from other interested parties, but this has not moved forward since application was last reported to Panel nearly six months ago. As the landowner has failed to make any positive decision on the sale of their land, the applicant is unable to secure this part of the site.

“However, this does not diminish the ability of the scheme to come forward in compliance with the (council planning) requirements and indeed focuses movement through the south west corner nearest to Wetherby on active and sustainable means of travel in accordance with the Best Council Plan objectives.”

It added that the three proposed access roads from Racecourse Approach, as well as a “hopper bus” and improvements to nearby Carr Lane for pedestrians and cyclists, would make the development “acceptable and sustainable”.

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The report concluded: “It is important to highlight that the proposed Taylor Wimpey development would not prejudice the development of the third party land which could come forward for development later and tie in with the remaining part of the allocation, and still deliver a vehicular access into the site, including linkage to the school.”

It recommended that councillors should once again accept the site in principle and leave finer details to council officers.

The plans had attracted objections from locals, with claims that such a large development would put undue strain on local infrastructure.

The site was been included in the council’s Site Allocations Plan (SAP), adopted in 2019. This means the authority now recognises the site as suitable for new housing.

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Approval for the scheme would not yet mean work on the site could take place, as the finer details of the scheme, such as the types of homes, would have to go back before the panel in the form of a “reserved matters” application.

Leeds City Council’s city plans panel is set to meet on Thursday, August 6.