Agenda item

22/06370/FU - Former Weetwood Police Station, 300 Otley Road, Weetwood, Leeds, LS16 6RG

To receive and consider the attached report of the Chief Planning Officer regarding an application for the demolition of the existing buildings and construction of a new building for residential use (Use Class C3), provision of internal roads for vehicular and pedestrian access and servicing, car parking, landscaping, a substation, new pedestrian infrastructure and modifications to existing vehicular and pedestrian access at the Former Weetwood Police Station, 300 Otley Road, Weetwood, Leeds, LS16 6RG.



The report of the Chief Planning Officer presented a report regarding the demotion of existing buildings and construction of a new building for residential use (Use Class C3), provision of internal roads for vehicular and pedestrian access and servicing, car parking, landscaping, a substation, new pedestrian infrastructure and modifications to existing vehicular and pedestrian access at the Former Weetwood Police Station, 300 Otley Road, Weetwood, Leeds, LS16 6RG.


The report is brought to Plans Panel as a Position Statement to present details in relation to the emerging scheme and provide Panel Members with the opportunity to provide comments to aid progression of the application.


Councillor B Anderson removed himself from the meeting and the room prior to the application commencing, due to his interest in the item.


Members of the Panel had attended a site visit earlier in the day.


Members were provided with an update since the writing of the submitted report in that the applicant has shown admirable ambitions to exceed targets EN1 and EN2, further work is required to ensure that they are achievable. Additionally, comments have been received from Councillors B Anderson and C Anderson complimenting the development and level of consultation that has taken place with Adel Neighbourhood Forum and the public consultation that took place. Some issues were raised regarding viability and the preference of providing affordable units onsite and concern that some flats may have more than 1 car.


Photographs and slides were shown throughout the officer presentation, and Members were provided with the following information:

·  The application site is a 1.4 hectare brownfield site which originally encompassed Weetwood Police Station. The site is located to the north-east of Lawnswood Roundabout, to the east of Otley Road (A660), within the Main Urban Area of Leeds. The site is bounded by Bodington Hall Playing Fields (University of Leeds) to its north and east boundaries.

·  The proposed new building will provide a total of 127 Build to Rent residential units (1-3 bed, which falls within the C3 use class.

·  The proposed building incorporates an L-shaped format which ranges between 4 & 6 storey in height. The building has a flat roof design with roof terraces, green roofs, and Solar PV infrastructure. The building will be constructed of brick with bronze colour aluminium window openings and metal shade panels. Each property benefits from an external balcony or terrace.

·  The proposals include the provision of on-site green space and includes the provision of a publicly accessible landscaped podium desk to the front of the building.

·  Vehicular access to the site will be retained as per the existing situation. From Otley Road, the northern access will be retained as access only, with the southern access retained as egress only. From the Ring Road, the existing access will be retained and will continue to operate as two-way entry and exit. It is considered that the former police station has a high level of car association with it, and the level of trips associated with the proposed development will see a reduction in trips.

·  The development incorporates low carbon and renewable technology including the provision of air source heat pumps and photovoltaic panels.

·  There will be 140 spaces for cars and 139 cycling spaces.

·  Members were provided with details of the floor plans for each of the floors and it was noted that there has been a challenge presented in the relationship with the neighbourhood land uses such as parking. It was also noted that 3 of the units will include a sunken terrace below the landscape platform.

·  There will be 5 separate roof terraces proposed.

·  In terms of land levels, the site is sunken down and is set back from Otley Road to reduce the visual impact from the road and will be screened by mature tree canopies.

·  Members were informed of the proposed landscape plan and 2 other key areas of greenspace. There will also be a proposed tree buffer down the western side of the site.


In summarising the planning officer confirmed that:

·  There are viability issues in terms of affordable housing contribution. AS 700k contribution is proposed as a commuted sum.

·  The height and scale of the building is not un-common is a suburban area, and the land-levels as well as trees hide the massing of the building.

·  Muted colours have been used and fluctuating heights to ensure that a ‘bulky’ building has not been created.

·   The proposals include good quality greenspace. The final design of the greenspace is yet to be confirmed, and it is expected that a greater quantum of soft land rather than hard dominating land is provided, as well as more seating. The greenspace provision has still not been met, and a commuted sum of 69k is proposed. The developers have confirmed they wish to explore options in terms of utilising the area of woodland and putting a path through there. Officers believe this may have an impact on biodiversity.

·  The ground floor units do not have the best relationship with adjacent uses.

·  All terraces have balconies and access to roof terraces, there is a good level of amenity provided across the site as a whole.


The applicants representative provided the following information:

·  The applicant has worked with officers for over 2 years developing a scheme that fits well within its context.

·  Design officers have raised no concern in regard to this scheme.

·  The applicant is seeking to optimise use of a brownfield site therefore reducing the need to call upon greenfield sites.

·  There is a pressure in the north Leeds area on the need for housing.

·  The scheme delivers a range of units and mix.

·  Build to rent is a relatively new concept in Leeds and the model helps with further needs of rental product.

·  In terms of viability, the commuted sum is equivalent to providing 15% of the units at a discounted market rate.

·  The applicant is keen to provide greenspace where possible on-site and if this is not possible, will provide the commuted sum. Trim trails are an option to provide additional greenspace.

·  The scheme provides a sustainable development meeting the housing needs in this part of the city.


Further to questions from Panel Members, the applicants representative confirmed the following information:

·  There are clear built-to-rent viability issues and when the council produced the policy on build to rent, it was based on city centre evidence and not suburban development. It was confirmed there is lesser value in suburban areas.

·  Car parking provision is considered consistent with policy and the scheme is in a sustainable location, with the option for people to use a major public transport route into the city.

·  No gas boilers will be provided onsite. It is noted that 90% onsite energy consumption can be provided.

·  The structure is considered ‘calm’.

·  Green walls have been incorporated in the scheme.

·  The applicant has considered materials that are contextual within the suburban area and alternative materials may over emphasise the contemporary nature of the development. Material samples can be provided at a future meeting.

·  The balconies are 1.4m in depth.

·  The trim tail does not impact upon biodiversity, but further to comments regarding this proposal not being an adequate use of greenspace, the applicant will re-consider such proposals.

·  The site is designed to ensure that pedestrian safety is at the forefront and a priority where possible. Beyond the site is subject to some plans and Connecting Leeds on Lawnswood roundabout that will be delivered in due course. It is anticipated that delivery of the scheme will commence in 2024 with an 18-month development construction programme. By which point, works will have been completed in relation to Lawnswood roundabout.

·  The applicant will work on comments received regarding the need for there to be children’s play spaces and more greenspace offers onsite.

·  Further to concerns raised by members regarding the provision of affordable units on site. It was confirmed that information is awaited from the District Valuer and such information will include a comparison to a market scheme, as well as the build-to-rent model.

·  All of the modern contemporary blocks will be accommodated with located parcel lockers and will be externally accessible and fully locked to avoid issues with parcel theft.


Members comments in relation to the officers questions in the submitted report were relayed as follows:


Question 1 – Do Members support the principle of residential use on the site? Yes.


Question 2 – Do Members support the proposed height/scale of the development at 4-6 storeys? Yes.


Question 3 – Do Members support the design of the development including the proposed palette of materials? In general, yes, although there could be better presentation with further opportunities.


Question 4 – Do Members support the proposed housing mix? Yes.


Question 5 – Do Members wish to provide any general comments in relation to affordable housing / viability issues within the proposed development? Whilst it was acknowledged that information is yet to be received from the District Valuer, Members felt that a greater percentage of affordable units should be provided onsite. Members commented on whether alternative schemes could meet the requirement.


Question 6 – What are Members opinions on the potential for the woodland area to be utilised as Green Space? Members did not agree that the woodland area provided a sufficient amount of Green Space for the residents and requested that alternative solutions be considered.


Question 7 – Do Members have any comments to make in respect of the general approach to green space provision / design across the development? Members felt that there should be less areas of hardstanding and more consideration towards children’s play areas and creative solutions in terms of the provision of Green Space.


Question 8 – Do Members have any comments to make in respect of the amenity of neighbours to future residents? Mixed views were provided in relation to the sunken gardens but acknowledged that only a low level of such units is to be provided.


Question 9 – Do Members have any concerns or comments relating to ecology / nature / trees? Members touched upon the possibility to plant additional trees on the verge outside of the curtilage, but it was acknowledged that there may be long-term issues relating to this due to works to Lawnswood roundabout.


Question 10 – Do Members have any concerns or comments relating to highway issues? Members requested that sufficient space be provided for overflow parking and room for vehicles to manoeuvre such as delivery drivers and refuse vehicles.


Question 11 – Do Members have any comments in relation to the environmental impact of the proposed development? No.


Question 12 – Do Members support the proposed provision of accessible housing and access for all adaptions? To receive information on whether the units are wheelchair accessible and provide enough room for turning circles.


Question 13 – Any other comments. A member sought clarity on nearby infrastructure in terms of local surgeries and schools.


In general, and further to the comments as relayed above, Panel Members generally supported the scheme.


RESOLVED – To note the contents of the report on the proposals and to provide views in relation to the questions posed in the submitted report to aid the progression of the application.


Supporting documents: