Rejected student halls proposal may be put back on the agenda

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Contentious plans to turn former student halls of residence in a leafy suburb of Headingley in Leeds into new homes could be back on the agenda.

Members will hear details of revised plans to transform the former Leeds University halls of residence at the Tetley Hall site, off Moor Road, Headingley, when they meet tomorrow.

At this stage Pickard Properties is seeking the opinions of members before deciding whether to put in a revised application which would be determined by councillors at a later date. The developer wants feedback from members about changes it has made to proposals.

Last year the developer’s plans to build student flats or a housing scheme at the former halls of residence were rejected.

Pickard Properties had submitted two applications for the former Tetley Hall site – one for students flats and the other for a residential scheme including flats, townhouses and retirement apartments.

A report to councillors last year said the proposed student development was over-intensive and would have an impact on the housing balance in the area.

It recommended the residential scheme also be refused because of the height and scale of the proposed buildings and the effect on a neighbouring property.

Loss of protected trees, insufficient affordable housing and concerns over public transport were among other issues raised. An another application in 2008 was also thrown out.

The revised proposal, which will be discussed by members of Leeds City Council’s plans panel west is for 147 homes with 128 car parking spaces – fewer homes than was previously proposed.

A report to councillors says: “The site is sited within a leafy suburb of predominantly family residential properties. The actual site boundary is spread over six acres, and bordered on the north-east side by Moor Road, a wide residential access road.

“The site contains a number of buildings. The main building is the purpose built student block. There is a 1960s four-storey student block which currently dominates the site which will be demolished as part of the proposals. This building has no architectural merit and its removal and replacement with smaller residential buildings will be a positive improvement.”

Members will be told that this proposal comprises three new apartment blocks, with 55 homes, they will be three storeys with fourth level accommodation in the roofspace and 13 townhouses. The scheme also includes a retirement complex of 48 homes.

The purpose-built halls of residence are to be demolished as is the existing villa known as Heathfield Terrace, while the existing villas known as Moorfield Lodge, Moor Grange and adjoining two stable blocks, Burton Grange and Burton Lea with adjoining stable block are to be refurbished to provide, in total, 31 homes.

The report adds: “The principle of replacement of the 1960s block with a new build villa style nursing home may be acceptable as it will largely be on brownfield land. The conversion of the existing villas to apartments and the conversion of the stable block to a dwelling is also considered acceptable in principle.”

Members will be told that the proposals have not yet been consulted upon with members of the public as it is only at the pre-application stage. But the report to members says the developer has undertaken to seek the opinion of the local community prior to submitting any planning application.

Officers have stressed this is necessary given the scale of the development and its implications for the local area.

Previous applications have attracted a “substantial volume of objections” the report says.

The current scheme which is now being discussed has smaller buildings, a reduction of 22 homes from the scheme that was previously refused by members of the plans panel and around 40 fewer car parking spaces.