Plans by Redrow to build 34 houses off Outwood Lane, Horsforth, have been turned down by Leeds City Council. Although it was acknowledged that the plans would help the City’s housing land supply in a small way, the negative effects of building on the green belt linked to the Cragg Hill and Woodside conservation area, outweighed any positives. There is nothing, of course, stopping Redrow appealing against this decision, and having costs awarded from Leeds rate payers if an Inspector overturns this decision.
The negative effects of the development were deemed to be:
- The conservations areas would be harmed by the loss of a green link between mature woodland that gave the area its rural and informal character. There was nothing in the plans that mitigated this by preserving or enhancing the conservation areas.
- As the link between woodland, scrubland and grassland in a Leeds Nature Area, the green belt area was ecologically the most valuable part of the whole site. Nothing in the plans mitigated for its loss.
- The proposed development would have a detrimental impact on mature trees in the area, that helped give the conservation area its rural character. Tree loss would also affect the visual amenities of the site.
- The site is designated greenspace (an area used for formal or informal recreation), and adequate compensating provision of alternative greenspace had not been made in plans.
- The free flow of traffic on Outwood Lane would be adversely affected by the site access.
- The plans had inadequate provision for parking, unacceptable site road plans, and no pedestrian provision.
- The scale, style and layout of the development paid no heed to the local area !! (Bearing in mind the local area has conservation status as well.)
The charge is frequently levied at the volume developers, such as Redrow, that they have no interest in place-making, and enhancing both the wellbeing of local residents, and their own customers. The reasons for turning down the Outwood Lane plan seem to show this accusation may be accurate. This is not however, the case with many small local developers, who often live, work and know an area – yet they are the ones who find obtaining cost-effective planning permission for small scale development difficult.