report of the Chief Planning Officer presented for Members
consideration a hybrid application for full planning permission for
extensions and annexe building to existing clubhouse including
changes to the car park, the construction of 35 holiday lodges with
associated landscaping and parking and outline planning for change
of use of agricultural land to golf course, realignment of the
existing driving range, creation of adventure golf area and
alterations to existing golf course to create footgolf
had attended a site visit and were shown slides and photographs
throughout the officer presentation.
Planning Officer presented the application providing the following
the publication of the agenda a petition signed by 503 people
objecting to the application with individual comments had been
received along with another 5 letters of objection. Members were
advised that the issues were as had previously been raised and had
already been covered in the report. An update however was therefore
provided on the number of representations received (as quoted in
the report). 91 letters in support, 97 letters in objection plus
the 503 on the petition plus 3 letters with general
position statement in relation to this application was brought to
Panel on 5th November 2020. Since this date numerous
changes had been made to the scheme. The main changes included a
reduction in the scale of the main clubhouse building and
alterations to the design to give the building a more rural
appearance whilst also enhancing its eco credentials. There had
also been a reduction in the number of lodges from 37 to
was a hybrid application seeking full planning permission for the
clubhouse extension and holiday lodges and outline permission for
the remaining elements including the footgolf course, adventure
golf, academy course and realigned driving range.
35-unit eco lodge development was proposed on the existing Par 3
and footgolf course to the south of the existing clubhouse and
School Lane. The proposed units were 7 four bed units and 28 two
bed units constructed of timber with stone detailing and
incorporated green roofs.
Golf Club is located in land defined as Green Belt and Special
Landscape Area, to the west of the site is Wike Village, a small
hamlet with no services and limited community facilities. The site
is near the Harrogate Road which is the main route to the Grammar
School at Leeds. Access to the site would be via School Lane which
is a narrow lane part-made and part-unmade with some passing
points. It was noted that there are other golf courses situated in
the local area of north Leeds including Alwoodley, Moor Allerton,
Sandmoor, Headingley, Horsforth, Scarcroft, Brandon and Cookridge Hall.
- It was
acknowledged that the two-storey clubhouse has had some side
extensions and houses a club shop and changing rooms. The club
currently has parking for 204 cars.
main 18-hole golf course would remain unchanged with the current
Par 3 course becoming the footgolf course.
- It was
noted that the unauthorised driving range development was to be
removed and Members were requested not to take this into
redeveloped and extended clubhouse proposals included:
ground floor: Plant room, lobby, kitchen, WC’s, adventure
golf room, driving range store
Floor: Bar kitchen, golf club bar area with large external patio
area, function entrance, WC’s, golf reception area, pro shop,
changing rooms, office, teaching bays, 15 driving range bays,
footgolf sports bar with external terrace and
Floor: Large function room with balcony terrace, 2 meeting spaces
with balcony terrace, kitchen, pre-function room, function store,
staff office/ meeting room, WC’s, multi-functional studio
class/ teaching space, teaching bay, 15 driving range
Floor: Gym, health spa reception area with external balcony, health
spa lounge with external balcony, 3 health spa treatment rooms,
sauna/steam spa, storage room.
table at paragraph 97 of the report was highlighted to show the
current measurements and the proposed measurements for the current
scheme of the clubhouse.
images of the proposed clubhouse were shown and presented an
attractive frontage with landscaping and solar panels. CGI images
were also shown of the proposed eco lodges both during the day and
at night, alongside proposed landscaping including the formation of
- Paragraphs 68 and 69 were highlighted to provide an explanation
of what considerations should be taken into account in regard to
any proposed development and / or the construction of new buildings
in Green Belt. Such development is to
be regarded as inappropriate in the Green Belt, unless certain
exceptions can be applied
officer highlighted that the report’s analysis had involved
looking at the proposal as distinct elements with its components
separated – as some of the development proposed could be
regarded as appropriate development in the Green Belt under the
provisions of the NPPF, but other elements could not.
particular, it was noted that the holiday lodges did not any of the
exceptions provided for within the NPPF.
relation to other elements of the scheme proposed, it was noted
that exceptions could be applied – such that the elements may
be regarded as appropriate development, but then the consideration
arises as to whether there is harm caused to the openness of the
Green Belt. Officers were also of the
view that the adventure golf area proposed some significant
structures and the scale of these would not provide openness. There
was also the consideration of the visual impact from School Lane
and bridle path.
- Planning officer’s concerns included:
3-storey clubhouse was of significant bulk
lodges would have more lighting impact than the current golf
proposal was stretching the boundaries and at odds with the wider
area, the current golf centre sits neatly into the
are currently no transport links to the golf centre and the
proposal would increase the use of cars.
- Benefits were highlighted such as economic benefits in the
creation of jobs and an uplift in visitor numbers, boosting tourism
to the area.
- It was
noted that no issues had been highlighted by Highways or Flood Risk
- It was
noted that paragraph 141 set out the factors, propounded as
‘Very Special Circumstances’ by the
applicant. The officer considered each
of the proposed ‘Very Special Circumstances’ in turn,
explaining for Members (1) which could in principle be
deemed ‘Very Special Circumstances and (2) which officers
considered in this instance were deemed ‘Very Special
Cirell attended the meeting as an
objector to the application and informed the Panel of the following
Cirell said that he lived in Wike and
represented the residents of Wike who had formed a group in
opposition to this application and he was speaking with the support
of all the residents of Wike.
emphasised the key issues with the application being traffic,
noise, pollution and drainage.
- He was
of the view that this was not the location for such a scheme as
proposed which he likened to a Centre Parcs style development. He
said it was an important Green Belt area. Green Belt is important,
and he was of the view that the Council rightly defends the Green
- Further, there are no public transport links to Wike which means
more traffic would be generated on roads which already struggle to
cope. He said that local ward members and the police were aware
that there were often accidents in this location. It is a small
hamlet with only 38 houses.
agreed with the planning officer that there were no Very Special
Circumstances to warrant this type of development and in his view
the applicant had done little to reduce the harm to the Green
is no support from local residents, all letters in support had been
from club members or supporters of the Park Lane group. He said
that the golf club had made no effort to engage with the local
community and ask for input which might shape a scheme that was
said that 3 of the 5 Parish Councils were also in opposition to the
said the residents were deeply concerned about the impact on
traffic, drainage, noise and pollution. If the application was to
be granted it would double the size of Wike.
Cirell as an Environmental Advisor was
of the view that the scheme lacked any green
- It was
his view that the scheme was all about money, the applicant had
accepted that the golf club was not sustainable in its current form
and needed this development to survive. He thought it may set a
precedent for other golf clubs in the area.
Responding to questions from Members, Mr Cirell provided the following
the application was first proposed letters were sent to the nearest
6 houses and they were invited to a presentation at the golf club,
some had attended, and this was how the rest of the residents heard
about the proposals. However, there has been no engagement with
have been speed issues along Wike Ridge Lane and a speed indicator
device had been put up, but people do still speed along this road.
The junction with School Lane, Forge Lane and Wike Ridge Lane are
constantly seeing accidents and incidents some with injuries where
the police have been called. The access to the golf club is a
single-track road which is a bridleway and with a narrow
entry-point into the club land. Residents had concerns that if the
function room was at capacity there could be 200 people trying to
get in and out of the golf club along this narrow road which would
be simply unsuitable for such increased usage.
is no public transport to Wike, although there is public transport
at East Keswick. To get a bus he had to walk about 1 mile along
busy roads which had no footpaths to the nearest bus stop at
Harewood gate. Mr Cirell was of the
view that most of the traffic accessing the club would be petrol
cars which would cause pollution.
resident’s group had written to the planning officer to raise
concerns in relation to flooding, as it is proposed that drainage
from the site would be drained into the small beck that goes
towards East Keswick. This beck is insufficient and often floods
– which was a problem which would surely only be exacerbated
by any substantive development on the site.
size of the clubhouse and the holidays lodges were the parts of the
planning application which caused the most concern to the
is only one local convenience store near to the proposed
properties in Wike would be able to see the clubhouse, although
there was a concern in relation to the driving ranges which
currently use floodlighting and this can be seen clearly, the
concern was that with even more driving ranges and the holiday
lodges light pollution would be increased.
Attending in support of the application were Mr Andrew
Windress, Agent for the applicant, Cllr
Abigail Marshall- Katung of Leeds City
Council and Hanif Malik of Park Lane Foundation who informed the
Panel of the following points:
applicant had responded to Members comments after the presentation
at the November 2020 meeting (Position Statement).
- It is
the applicant’s view that this application for a sports
facility is appropriate development in the Green Belt. The driving
ranges and the clubhouse will be in use all year round and are
larger than the existing, but this is because they are intended to
be a regional facility of renown.
Very Special Circumstances for this development include, that local
jobs would be created, tourism would be enhanced and the proposal
included the planting of approximately 300 trees, alongside
extensive provisions to bring biodiversity net gain.
had been no technical objections in relation to highways or
relation to the lighting Mr Windress
said that the lights are outdated, and this has led to local
concerns regarding light pollution. The
lights for the driving ranges and holiday lodges would use more up
to date technology.
Marshall-Katung explained that she worked with the Park Lane
Foundation which makes sport inclusive for all. She said that
children from the inner-city schools were taken to the golf centre
so they could enjoy the use of the driving range and the footgolf.
The young children enjoyed the experience and were excited for this
type of activity.
Responding to questions from Members the Panel were provided
with the following information:
- It was
recognised that without this scheme the golf centre would close,
and it had been losing money. A viability assessment statement had
been provided and that the wider Park Lane Group had been
supporting the centre to date.
- £200,000 per year is needed to be input to maintain the
golf centre’s operation.
the holiday lodges not be granted it would not be possible for the
scheme to be amended to provide for hotel development, as a new
planning application would be required to change the scheme or
facility’s existing use
holiday lodges would be self-catering lodges and it was envisaged
that the visiting residents would eat on site and use the golf
centre’s restaurant. However,
should it be required, the shop could be extended to stock more
Marshall-Katung agreed to Chair a committee to ensure that delivery
of the proposed community and inclusivity / diversity benefits
would be achieved and delivered in practice
- It was
acknowledged that residents had attended an initial presentation of
the proposals. However, the Panel had heard that residents of Wike
had not been consulted with since the initial presentation or their
views taken into account. It was
acknowledged by the applicant that the engagement with and
consultation of local residents could have been improved
sustainability consultant had been used for the eco lodges and the
following credentials were listed:
excellence ratings for clubhouse and driving ranges
Malik explained the role of the Park Lane Foundation working
alongside Leeds United, Rhinos Foundation, Leeds Beckett University
and Leeds City College. He said that 6 different schools from the
inner-city areas used the golf centre for activities. Park Lane
could offer transport to the centre if the school did not have any.
He said that this golf centre was the only one in Leeds to be
receptive to this type of scheme for young people with
approximately 170 young people using this facility each week
travelling by mini-bus on different days and times, therefore
minimal impact on the road network. He was of the view that there
was a misconception that this was a Centre Parcs style development.
It was noted that Members were of the view that the work of the
Park Lane Foundation was to be applauded and thought it would be a
loss if this type of activity could not be accessed by young people
in the city.
relation to the concerns of light pollution, this had been
considered by the sustainability consultant who had advised on the
latest lighting technology and that this would be used. It was
noted that the driving range, although used throughout the year
closed at 8pm during the winter months.
- Members were advised that the spa was only a small area of the
development. The holiday lodges were to offer a different type of
golfing holiday for those wishing to go together offering a
relaxing space to spend time together rather than room only
accommodation. It was also thought to be good accommodation for
- It was
acknowledged that after the pandemic golf courses were the first
type of sporting activity to open up due to the open nature of the
sport. However, they had been closed during lockdown and had lost
income. It was the view that reducing fees would not increase
membership of the club to reduce the deficit.
relation to fulfilment of EN1 and EN2 this had been detailed in
paragraphs 129 and 130 of the submitted report. It was acknowledged
that the scheme would be of BREEAM standard and that the developers
had gone further than usual to meet climate change
robust assessment of traffic generation had been undertaken using
similar sites. This had taken account of peak travel hours and peak
weekend travel hours with no more than 100 trips being generated.
It was acknowledged this had only taken account of peak travel
times not for the whole of the day. The local junction had been
assessed as being sufficient to cope with anticipated capacity.
There were passing places already on School Lane.
- It was
not envisaged that there would be such increased number of trips
generated from such an increased number of vehicles that this would
bring an adverse impact on highways.
relation to service vehicles this would be taken into account, so
that servicing was not done during peak travel times.
- It was
confirmed that 13 no. trees would be removed, with some removal due
to the poor health of the trees in question. Approximately 300 no. trees would be provided as
- A high
bar is set for any development being able to take place in the
Green Belt and the applicant could not evidence any Very Special
is a clearly established policy to dissuade development of holiday
accommodation in the Green Belt. Such a
type of development should therefore not be allowed to
of engagement with the community was disappointing.
holiday lodges were not necessary in this location. It was the view
that the lodges had a good design which was sympathetic to the
area. However, there was concern in relation to the number of
lodges proposed and the location in the Green Belt. Further, the
lodges would create the equivalent of a small hamlet of buildings
in complete disproportionate to nearby Wike.
benefits for the community and the city undertaken by the Park Lane
Foundation were admirable but greater detail regarding the numbers
of young people taking part and from which areas would have been
useful. Further, it had not been evidenced that this engagement and
delivery of community benefits was not either (1) already taking
place or (2) could not substantially continue if the development
did not proceed.
development was too large for this location.
keep the footgolf, adventure golf and golf course was deemed
acceptable as it was the view that these activities would keep the
openness of the Green Belt. However, there had been no attempt by
the applicant to “break bulk” in its presentation of
the application – that is, considering its separate elements
and proceeding on that basis.
- Concerns in relation to the generation of traffic and the impact
on highways and the lack of public transport in the
- Viability information provided was not substantive enough to
evidence that ‘Very Special Circumstances’ existed to
justify the development. For instance,
how many jobs would be created? Or how
many would be lost if the development could not
the view of the Panel that if a viability assessment was provided
for Member’s consideration this could be discussed in private
session. The Panel were also of the view that consultation with the
local community, taking account of their views may assist with any
future proposals for this site.
RESOLVED – To refuse permission
for the reasons set out in the submitted report.