299 homes plan put back until at least summer this year

Villagers in south Leeds have warned that their community has become “a zombie commuter belt”, as they remain in the dark about proposals to build 299 homes on greenfield land.

The plans for a site off Westerton Road in West Ardsley had originally been submitted back in 2017, but several delays to the proposals have put any final decision on the plans back until at least the summer of this year, according to Leeds City Council.

A march against the proposals back in 2018.

A march against the proposals back in 2018.

An outline planning application was lodged, seeking permission to build up to 299 homes on the land. Developers claimed that the plans would bring improvements to the landscape and management of the woodland.

But a petition against the proposals, headed up by West Ardsley Action Group (WAAG) has already received more than 3,000 signatures. Many claim it will erode green space in the village.

The chair of WAAG Peter Cowling said: “It’s obvious to anyone who lives in Tingley and West Ardsley that successive housing developments in the area have turned our community into a zombie commuter belt.

“Families and professionals use the nearby motorways to drive to work in the morning, get back late, park their cars, close their doors, eat, sleep and repeat.

“The closure of local pubs, shops, post offices and a totally inadequate public transport system have created an urban desert, where the car is king and our kids are choking on exhaust fumes.

“Now we are staring down the barrel at another huge housing development on the cusp of being approved in the area, where we already have hugely oversubscribed schools and health centres.

“We urge the council to act now, and for once, listen to our community before it’s too late.”

The application has yet to be determined, as Highways England’s consultation response submitted in December 2018 recommended that the application was placed on hold for six months until further work had been carried out. It is thought to be likely that any final decision will be made after summer this year.

A spokesman for the authority added: “Like all areas of Leeds, all plans submitted in West Ardsley are subject to robust and rigorous examination by planning officers as well as public consultation, where members of the public are asked to submit their views.

“The needs in the local area for infrastructure and services will always be considered and reflected in the planning requirements for new developments.”

Walker Morris, the agent acting on behalf of the developers West Ardsley Development Consortium, declined to comment.

A planning statement prepared by Walker Morris with the original application said the proposed development would provide 299 homes on the site and “significant improvements to the landscape and management of the central wooded valley”.

It urged the council to grant the applicant conditional outline planning permission. The statement said plans outlined within a design and access statement show that “a high-quality design and sense of place and space could be delivered”.