Permission sought for relocation of football pitch and nine new houses

The hearing is set to take place at Leeds Civic Hall.
The hearing is set to take place at Leeds Civic Hall.

An application to “relocate” a sports pitch to make space for nine houses is set to be discussed by council planning chiefs this week.

Applicants Weidmann Whiteley submitted the proposal to Leeds City Council for the site at Pool Paper Mills off Pool Road in Otley.

But the proposed scheme has been met with objection by local residents and ward councillors, who claim the plans fall within the green belt and should be rejected.

The proposal seeks permission to build nine houses and a new sports facility with a clubhouse on the site, as well as changing facilities.

This would involve relocating an existing sports pitch to the south of the site.

The plans have been brought to the South and West Plans panel due to them sitting in a green belt area, meaning only “very special circumstances” can lead to their approval.

After the application had originally been submitted in 2017, a letter to the council signed by Leeds city councillors Barry and Caroline Anderson read: “This land is currently green belt land. We do not agree that any special circumstances exist that would allow this land to be removed from green belt.

“This area of land in Pool is liable to flooding. It lies in a flood zone. Run-off from the fields above occurs naturally, never mind when there is heavy rain. Concreting over this land will not help this situation. The way this land lies makes flooding an issue at this site.”

Another letter from Pool Parish Council added: “The village already has major transport, congestion and road network issues it is currently trying to deal with.

“This development would make matters worse.”

However, a report from Leeds City Council officers claims that such a development would benefit the area.

It read: “The development of the sports pitch is considered acceptable in the green belt.

“With regards to the other elements of the application, it is considered that cumulatively the significant social and economic benefits arising from the development with the potential for job retention and creation, and the provision of a permanent community sports facility, as well as the limited harm identified can amount to very special circumstances to clearly outweigh the harm to the green belt arising from the residential development, club house and associated parking and access, and other harm identified within the report.”

It went on to recommend approval of the application, subject to Secretary of State call-in.

The plans will be discussed by the panel on Thursday, February 21.