An MP has asked the Secretary of State to ‘call in’ a controversial planning application for up to 208 houses on greenbelt land in Drighlington.
Andrea Jenkyns, Conservative MP for Morley and Outwood, has urged Sajid Javid MP, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, to use his powers to take over, or ‘call in’, the application by Miller Home Group rather than letting Leeds City Council decide.
The housebuilder’s plans - for up to 208 houses on land at Pitty Close Farm - have so far attracted 358 opposition signatures on a petition as well as continued objections from Ms Jenkyns and local councillors.
Ms Jenkyns said: “Pitty Close Farm is a rural greenfield site consisting of good quality agricultural land. If a priority for housing development should focus on brownfield sites then granting permission at this location must undermine this core principle.”
She also argued additional housing would put pressure on already-oversubscribed local schools and criticised the plan having just one feeder road.
Coun Robert Finnigan (Morley Borough, Independent) said: “I’m delighted the MP has formally requested that this application should be called in.
“We have campaigned together with the community to prevent the loss of this valuable greenfield site and to prevent local infrastructure, schools, health centres and roads being overwhelmed by this level of overdevelopment.”
Asked to comment on the situation, a spokesperson for Leeds City Council told the Yorkshire Evening Post: “Leeds City Council did not envisage this site coming forward for development at this time, but following a decision by the Secretary of State which said Leeds cannot currently demonstrate a five-year land supply this application is considered against national government policy under which there are no reasons for it to be refused.
“The application to provide up to 208 dwellings at Pitty Close Farm was presented to South and West Plans Panel on August 3 which approved it subject to the completion of a legal agreement. That legal agreement is currently being negotiated and includes aspects including access, surface water drainage, public space and transport infrastructure. Funding from the development is also likely to go towards ensuring additional education provision in the area.
“In meeting the need for new homes across Leeds a mix of greenfield and brownfield sites are being provided with the council committed to maximising the development of brownfield sites through a range of initiatives. The total housing figure for Leeds of 70,000 new homes by 2028 is being considered as part of the review of the Core Strategy agreed when it was adopted. This review is in the early stages and is expected to be completed by winter 2018.”
And a spokesperson for Miller Homes added: “We have only just been made aware of MP Andrea Jenkyns’ intention, however having secured a Resolution to Grant planning from the local council for Pitty Close Farm we will continue to work with interested parties to bring forward this development and others which will help meet the local housing need and the government’s target for new homes.”