`

Wetherspoons' claim for Leeds City Council cash over Cross Gates pub saga

The surgery in Cross Gates.
The surgery in Cross Gates.

Pub company JD Wetherspoons is trying to claim thousands of pounds from Leeds City Council after a long-running saga over plans to convert a doctor’s surgery into a bar.

The firm won an appeal earlier this year after members of the local authority’s North and East Plans Panel had not made a decision about whether to approve the proposal, for a site at 39 Austhorpe Road in Cross Gates, at two meetings.

Members of the panel had concerns over highways and noise issues, but in February a Government-appointed inspector approved the plan and ordered the council to pay the company’s costs for the “wasted expense” of an appeal process.

The authority was found to have acted “unreasonably”, partly due to its “inconsistency in changing positions on matters where there was no material change of circumstances”.

A new council report reveals that a claim for £8,550 plus VAT has been submitted and is under consideration. The document, to be discussed by members at the next panel on Thursday, also outlines implications for the council.

It warns care needs to be taken that work with applicants is “not unduly protracted”, also adding that “great care need to be taken if coming to a view that is contrary to the technical experts”.

“In particular there is a clear need to substantiate any concerns with appropriate evidence as failure to do so places the Council at risk of an award of costs,” it reads.

The company appealed to the Planning Inspectorate in September 2017 before the proposal was due to be discussed at committee for a third time.

The council today said that it is “still considering the reasonableness of the costs” but added that it “would not be appropriate for us to make a comment pre-empting discussions”.