Community in fight to stop £55m homes plan

Residents fearing the prospect of 370 new homes being built on green fields on the outskirts of Leeds are preparing to tackle developers.

About 40 people attended a meeting at Morley Town Hall on Wednesday, where members of Morley Against Reckless Construction (MARC) backed residents to set up a campaign group.

It comes after Barratt David Wilson Homes held a consultation event in East Ardsley over its plans to build a £55m scheme on land known locally as Church Fields, off Bradford Road. It is thought that formal plans could be submitted to the council before New Year, sparking campaigners’ fears that extra housing will stretch schools, roads and health services.

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Coun Robert Finnigan (Morley Borough Independents, Morley North) is calling for Leeds City Council’s Local Development Framework, which states 70,000 new homes need to be built by 2028, to be scrapped.

Coun Finnigan, who is a member of MARC, said: “Leeds City Council has granted planning permission for housing units on many brownfield sites that haven’t yet been built, so why rip up this greenfield site?”

The developers claim its plans could boost the local economy by £2.9m, create around 90 jobs and generate new school places and recreational areas.

Coun Jack Dunn (Lab, Ardsley and Robin Hood) said he understands homes are needed but feels local amenities need to be in place before development.

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He said: “You can’t build communities without amenities, you can’t build a new estate without new schools and new medical facilities.”

A spokeswoman from Barratt Homes said: “We are determined to not only provide fantastic homes for the people of Morley but also to consider their needs and opinions.”

She said the firm intends to work with residents, and is working with consultants to “preserve and improve” infrastructure.