Pub plan for former Leeds surgery set for go-ahead despite outcry

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Controversial plans to turn a former doctor’s surgery in Leeds into a Wetherspoons pub are being recommended for approval this week.

There have been 539 objections to the application for the pub and beer garden in Austhorpe Road in Crossgates.

There have also been 226 letters of support.

The building is empty and boarded up, and Leeds City Council officers say converting it into a pub would “have a positive visual impact on this part of Austhorpe Road”.

In an advisory report for councillors on the North East Plans Panel, ahead of a decision-making meeting on Thursday, officers suggest that only “an economic reuse of the building” will stop it being an eyesore.

Objectors include a dentist whose surgery is on the first floor of the same building, and a number of its patients. Many of those objecting had expressed fears that daily pub deliveries would add to traffic and congestion, which could lead to more accidents.

The report to Thursday’s plans panel at Leeds Civic Hall says the proposals have now been amended to include better servicing, parking and bin layout arrangements for the dentist.

It includes feedback from local councillors, among them Janette Walker, who said she “supports the proposal in principle, subject to caveats”, adding: “The building is run down and currently adds no value to the thriving commercial hub that operates in and around the Arndale Centre and regeneration, especially a conversion to a popular entertainment venue, should generate further commercial footfall.”

But she warns that “issues of concern to local residents can be overcome...through careful planning and negotiation”,