To receive and consider the attached report of the Chief Planning Officer regarding an outline planning application (all matters reserved except for means of access to, but not within, the site) for circa 130 dwellings to include the demolition of 632 and 634 Whitehall Road.
The report of the Chief Planning Officer presented an outline planning application (all matters reserved except for means of access to, but not within, the site) for circa 130 dwellings to include the demolition of 632 and 634 Whitehall Road.
Members attended a site visit prior to the meeting and site plans and photographs were displayed and referred to throughout the discussion on the application.
Further issues highlighted in relation the application included the following:
· Since the publication of the report there had been an additional 37 letters of objection from local residents along with objections from Ward Councillors. These had included concern regarding the capacity of local schools, unsustainability of the proposals, mine shafts in the area, protected trees, flood risk and increase in traffic.
· The proposal was for up to 130 new homes and demolition of two properties on Whitehall Road for access to the site. Members were asked to consider whether the principle of development and the means of access to the site were acceptable.
· There would need to be the removal of some tress for the site access. These were not protected and considered to be of low quality.
· The site was a Protected Area of Search (PAS) Site and safeguarded from development until 2028. However following the Secretary of State’s ruling that Leeds did not have a 5 year housing supply and in relation to planning guidelines and policy it could be considered that the benefit of bringing development forward would outweigh that.
· Highways had not considered the proposals to be detrimental to the existing highways network and there was an intention to introduce a 20 MPH zone to the residential area of New Farnley which the developer would financially support.
· It was anticipated that development on the site would generate a maximum of 33 primary school places. Whilst this was not enough to generate the development of a new school, there had been discussions for temporary expansions at local schools. Income generated by the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) would be used to support this.
· Concerns and objections relating to sustainability and loss of privacy/amenity would be considered at the reserved matters stage of the application.
· The proposed housing did not fall within the green belt and was effectively an infill site already surrounded by housing. The rural character of the area would be largely retained. The proposals would provide a significant contribution to the city’s housing supply and also affordable housing.
· It was recommended that the application be approved subject to conditions as outlined in the report and the completion of a Section 106 agreement.
Local residents addressed the Panel with objections to the application. These included the following:
· There was no objection to sustainable development in New Farnley.
· It was not believed that these proposals were in fitting with the village design statement for New Farnley.
· Development on this land would be welcomed but in the envisaged timescale of 2028 with a suitable infrastructure in place.
· The proposals did not fit in with the framework of the current site allocations process.
· Concerns due to the increased carbon footprint that development would bring and lack of school places and medical facilities which added to the unsustainability of the site.
· Issues relating to the unadopted road adjacent to Whitehall Road which should be clarified prior to any development.
· Concern of Walsh Lane and Low Moorside being used as rt runs by traffic.
· Whitehall Road was gridlocked at peak traffic times. There was need for bus and cycle lanes but the road was not wide enough and did have areas without footpaths.
· In response to questions from the Panel, the following was discussed:
o The unadopted road was maintained by residents. Although it gave an access to Walsh Lane this caused problems, particularly in the winter months and there had been a history of accidents.
In response to questions and comments from the Panel, the following was discussed:
· School places – a feasibility process had been carried out at local schools. Cobden Primary and Lawns Park Primary were both approximately one mile from the site. Cobden could manage a two year bulge in numbers with an option to make this permanent if necessary. It would be difficult for any expansion at Lawns Park.
· Bus services along Whitehall Road met accessibility standards with the number of buses that travelled to major interchanges.
· The unadopted road adjacent to Whitehall Road was under third party ownership. There would need to be clarity on this position via a condition to any application that would approve development of the site. Further to concern that the unadopted road could be used to access Walsh Lane, it was reported that the planning application would only be concerned with access to the site.
· With regard to concern regarding mine shafts on site it was reported that a geotechnical survey had already been undertaken. This would be subject to a condition requesting further intrusive searches prior to and development of the site.
· The need to release PAS sites for the development due to the lack of a 5 year housing supply. Previous appeal cases were referred to and this did not mean that the release would apply at all PAS sites but where there was no other purpose and sustainability could be achieved then unless there were other site specific circumstances, such sites should be released for development.
· In response to concerns of land banking, the Panel was informed that time limits could be applied at Reserved Matters stage to prevent this.
· Concern that bus services along Whitehall road were inadequate and did not serve local schools.
· Further concerns were raised regarding sustainability in relation to school places, transport, health provision and access to other services.
· The Panel was advised that should they wish to refuse the application there would be a need to demonstrate the significance and severity of reasons for refusal. It was suggested that the application be deferred for a further report to address concerns that had been raised.
RESOLVED – That the application be deferred for a further report on education provision; access to local facilities and the range of facilities; clarification of access and public transportation.