A decision on the blueprint for land at the 112-year-old Seacroft Hospital had undergone several months of delays, after a decision-making Leeds City Council panel raised a number of concerns about the design and asked developers Keepmoat and Strata to come back with more “unique attention to detail”.
The City Plans Panel was told last night that as a result of that feedback, the developers had held a number of workshops and looked at “enhancements” to the overall design.
There were still some issues raised with regard to the small size of garages and balconies included in the blueprint, with one panel member noting that “there are a lot of houses crammed together on this site” and urging further discussions to hammer out the final details.
Councillor Peter Gruen also reiterated his concerns about the apparent lack of school facilities in the development.
He was told the Government’s education funding authority was having “ongoing” discussions about a school on the site.
However there was overall support for the amended designs.
Councillor Graham Latty said: “It’s definitely an improvement from last time.”
Councillor Colin Campbell added: “This is a good example of a conversation between ourselves and the developers to produce a better development.”
Chair of the panel coun James McKenna said the scheme had “come on considerably” and it was “good to have architects and developers who do listen”.
Ian Hoad, operations director for Keepmoat in Yorkshire, said after the meeting: “Not only will we now be in a position to offer some much needed new homes, but the availability of schemes like Help to Buy, will serve to support more first time buyers in the region, to get that elusive first step on the property ladder.
“The new Seacroft project will also provide considerable employment and training opportunities, which we are looking to source locally and really invest in the wider community.
“We’re thrilled to be working in partnership with Strata and the HCA to accelerate the delivery of this fantastic new scheme.”
Mark Rosindale, managing director for Strat, added: “We are delighted with the successful planning decision which has followed extensive negotiation and dialogue with the council.
“This will be a landmark scheme for East Leeds and we look forward to delivering the quality new homes and community benefits on this aspirational scheme.”
The earmarked land, which includes a number of decommissioned buildings and a large plot of green field next to the hospital, was sold to the Homes and Communities Agency in 2014.
A landmark clock tower on the site, a listed building, will be preserved as part of the project.
A report presented to the panel said that chimneys would be included on some of the houses to improve the “roofscape”, as requested by councillors.
The report added: “Some of the house types have been revised and now have front elevations which incorporate front projecting features. These are considered to give greater depth to the front elevation, creating stronger street scenes overcoming the concerns that members raised about flat ‘canyon-like’ street scenes.”
The Villa building is set to be demolished, but the landmark Grade II listed clock tower on the site will be preserved as part of the project.
The majority of the development is set to be new build homes, but the plans include the conversion of a former hospital block to 10 flats.
A large part of the eastern end of the site is also being kept back as a potential secondary school site.