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Wetherby 800-home plans go before councillors

Artist's impression of the eventual development (credit: JRP Architecture)
Artist's impression of the eventual development (credit: JRP Architecture)

Proposals will be discussed for a massive 800-house development near Wetherby racecourse which has prompted massive objection from locals.

A document, set to be discussed by councillors next week, outlines the plans, which also include a new primary school, shops and a park.

But the report states that dozens of objections have been received from locals, elected members and the local parish council.

The proposed site would include 800 houses in a site off Racecourse Approach, which is currently earmarked as a rural area.

It adds two hectares of land would be reserved for a new primary school and local convenience store.

But the application had also received more than 90 responses from locals.

A letter signed by Leeds City councillors Alan Lamb and Norma Harrington states: “(We) object in the strongest possible terms to the application.

“Transport infrastructure is a major concern and is central to any debate around sustainability. How can the proposals be sustainable when there are no public transport links that would serve this site?”

“Wetherby is an historic market town and a development this size would threaten the existing character of the town and would serve to transform it into a much bigger settlement with two potentially distinct and competing centres.

“Creating a new settlement beyond the boundaries of the existing settlement could create a dangerous precedent, one that could see acres of existing rural land brought forward for development which would change the character of Wetherby and surrounding areas forever.”

Wetherby Town Council has also objected to the proposals.

A statement from the authority read: “(Our) concerns continue to centre around the ability of Wetherby’s infrastructure to cope with the demands that would be placed upon it by an additional 800 dwellings.

“While there may be plans for the later provision of a primary school and a food store this does not address local concerns about road capacity, leisure facilities, dental and medical services.

“Nor does it take in to account the fact that there are another 680 dwellings which are already being built or which have secured planning permission.

“The town council can see no requirement for 1,500 new dwellings to be imposed on Wetherby as it clearly goes above and beyond the supply of housing required to meet the needs of present and future generations.”

A report from Leeds City Council, the authority tasked with eventually deciding on the application, said it has had detailed discussions with the applicants on road issues, as well as drainage and the proposed primary school.

Its concluded: “There are concerns over whether a comprehensive development can be achieved through this planning application given the illustrative masterplan put forward, and therefore more work on this aspect is required. There is also further traffic modelling that is required to demonstrate that the impact on the local highway network will not be severe and harmful to highway safety.”

Members of the council’s city plans panel will discuss the outline application on Thursday, August 4.