Giant 'Otley East' scheme to build 700 homes and a new relief road could see Yorkshire market town significantly expanded

Around 700 houses, a new road and even a school are among the proposals included in gigantic development plans for a site in Otley, according to papers submitted to Leeds City Council this week.

Otley town centre
Otley town centre

Plans for the scheme, dubbed “Otley East” were created by Persimmon Homes and Leeds City Council which planners suggest could even help reduce road traffic in the centre of the town.

The scheme proposes to build “circa 700” homes, as well as include a new road, to be known as the East of Otley Relief Road. Around 12 acres of employment land would also be included, as well as a two-form entry primary school and “extensive amounts of public open space”.

The relocation of Otley Rugby Club’s pitches will also be part of the plan.

According to a design and access statement created by the applicants, the 140-acre site, which is bound by the A659 and A660, is currently mainly used for grazing and agricultural buildings.

The document read: “The master plan will deliver circa 700 new homes (including a percentage of affordable homes) comprising a mix of types and sizes. Homes suitable for older persons and independent living will also be provided.”

It also anticipates the employment land would be used for “offices, general industrial and storage/distribution”, while the primary school would be placed at the northwest corner of the site.

The document added: “Over the years, Otley town centre has become dominated by queuing cars at the Kirkgate/Westgate Junction and on the surrounding streets. Not only do these cars create adverse air quality conditions, they also limit the potential of the town to support new development, which in turn stifles long-term economic growth opportunities.

“Part of the master plan vision focusses on the delivery of the new relief road, which will be made possible as a result of the application site coming forward for major mixed-use development. The new relief road will not only alleviate a great deal of traffic and congestion issues currently impacting Otley, it will provide all vehicular access points into the site as well as some pedestrian and cycle accesses.”

It concluded: “Otley East is a key strategic site. It will significantly help towards meeting local housing needs whilst enabling the delivery of a new relief road on the eastern edge of Otley.

“The development is the major housing allocation in the outer north west market area of Leeds and is allocated accordingly in the development plan.

“Other than helping the Council achieve their strategic objectives, this hybrid planning application represents a clear opportunity to create a sustainable, mixed-use community that will contribute to the unique identity of Otley.”

A decision on the master plan is expected to take place by September 2021.