Agenda item

Application 18/02140/FU and 18/02141/LI - Stonebridge Mills, Stonebridge Lane, Farnley, Leeds

To receive and consider the attached report of the Chief Planing Officer regarding an application for the change of use of mill buildings to provide 30 dwellings and the construction of 82 new dwellings (112 dwellings in total) with associated access and landscaping.




The report of the Chief Planning Officer presented an application and a listed buildings application for conversion of mill buildings, demolition of listed buildings to provide 30 dwellings and the construction of 82 new dwellings (112 dwellings in total) with associated access and landscaping at Stonebridge Mills, Stonebridge Lane, Wortley, Leeds.


The applications had been presented to the Panel in October 2018 as a position statement where Members had been generally supportive of the scheme.  Members visited the site prior to that meeting.  Site plans and photographs were displayed and referred to throughout the discussion of the applications.


Further issues highlighted in relation to the applications included the following:


  • Buildings to be retained were highlighted on an aerial view photograph.
  • There would be partial retention of the mill pond.
  • The site had extant planning permission for a supermarket.
  • Changes since the application was initially submitted.
  • There had been objections from Local Ward Councillors.  These included the plans as being over intensive and that the mill pond should be retained in its entirety.  There had also been letters of objection from neighbouring residents.
  • The proposals had received support from Leeds Civic Trust.
  • The site had been identified for housing under the emerging Site Allocation Plan.
  • The application presented opportunity for the long term use of listed buildings.
  • The proposals were supported by a full heritage salvage statement which included the re-use of materials.
  • Full retention of the mill pond would mean that there would be 30 less units and this would affect the viability of the proposed development.  The approval for the supermarket involved partial loss of the mill pond.
  • On-site greenspace exceeded policy requirements.
  • There would be a new access to the site from Stoebridge Lane and there had been no highways objections.  The proposals net all accessibility standards.
  • There was a viability issue and this had been assessed by the District Valuer.  There would be a reduction in the provision of affordable housing.  It was acknowledged that there was a high cost of development and constraints on the site.
  • The applicant was prepared to commence development in August 2019.
  • It was felt appropriate to have an overage clause for provision of affordable housing should property sales and monies allow to do so.
  • The applications were recommended for approval.


A local resident and Ward Councillor addressed the Panel with concerns and objections to the applications.  These included the following:


  • The application proposed more units than stated in the Site Allocation Plan.
  • It was requested that local Ward Councillor be involved at every stage should the application be approved.
  • All the mill pond should be retained.
  • Concern regarding the impact on wildlife.


The applicant’s representative addressed the Panel.  The following as highlighted:


  • This was a complex site due to the heritage aspects, wildlife and highways.
  • The site had been vacant for over 20 years.
  • The proposals had been shaped following comments received after presentation of the position statement.
  • The proposals would deliver over 100 new quality homes.
  • Heritage and wildlife featured in the proposals.
  • There would be provision of a new public nature park.
  • The scheme would get historical buildings back into beneficial use.
  • In response to questions, the following was discussed:

o  A detailed cost estimate had been provided for the District Valuer.  It was an expensive project and cost of building on this site was higher than typical for the area.

o  There were unusual added costs which included work due the site been on the flood plain, level differences, drainage needs, costs relating to heritage and work on the mill pond.

o  Provision of affordable housing – this may be levied on the new build and re-evaluated throughout the project.


In response to comments and questions, the following was discussed:


  • The District Valuer report had not been brought to Panel.  It had been decided to present the report with the benefits of the proposals and on balance that the solution for an overage clause which could be reviewed at various stages of the development was sufficient.
  • The applicant had expressed a desire for new building to commence at the same time as the restoration works.  There would be further discussion with the applicant.
  • Concern regarding the lack of affordable housing and that it was a risk based on future evaluation. 
  • Concern that any affordable housing would be provided elsewhere.  It should be on this site.
  • It was suggested that the application be deferred for the Panel to see the report of the District Valuer.
  • House types – it was against policy to have garages at ground floor levels of properties and that these should be removed.  It was reported that these had been kept to a minimum on the site and had not been raised as an issue for concern when the position statement was presented.


RESOLVED – That the applications be deferred to allow the District Valuer to present to Panel to fully understand variance of opinion between the District Valuer and the applicants with regards to the affordability of the scheme.  Also to re-consider the design of properties with integral garages.



Supporting documents: