Perfect storm as Wetherby residents object to green belt plans

Credit: Sandby (Bardsey) Ltd
Credit: Sandby (Bardsey) Ltd

A Wetherby action group and MP Alec Shelbrooke (Elmet & Rothwell) are opposing plans for a special circumstances application to build more than 100 new homes on green belt land in Bardsey.

Plans for 140 homes off Wetherby Road were submitted earlier this month to Leeds City Council by the Bramham Park Estate and Sandby (Bardsey) Limited.

More than £10 million is needed by the estate to repair heritage buildings, an issue it has raised as a special circumstance case to build on green belt land.

Residents however have objected to the plans, arguing the development will strain local infrastructure and will be at risk from flooding.

Members of the Bardsey Action Group, formed to protect the area’s green belt land, have also suggested the estate’s plan is an unfair burden on local residents.

Philip Dickson of the Bardsey Action Group said: “Bramham Estate will benefit while everyone else will have to live with the repercussions. It is a disgusting situation.

“This is the perfect storm of everything that is wrong with these kind of plans and it would be a threat to all green belt land, it is red flagged for flooding and is ecologically significant.

“If plans are approved on the basis of refurbishing the estate then the council do not care about the livelihood of the village.”

Planning documents state that the development will generate a need for 35 primary school places and 14 secondary school places.

The nearest surgery to the site, the Church View Surgery, was also assessed as having no current capacity for additional patients.

Mr Shelbrooke has voiced his support for the residents as part his opposition to construction on greenbelt land.

Mr Shelbrooke said: “I remain opposed to the development of greenfield and greenbelt sites across my constituency when there are inner city urban brownfield sites standing undeveloped.

“As such I support the objections of local residents and local councillors and very much hope planning officials at Leeds City Council reject this application to build in the greenbelt”.

However developers argue that their proposals for the site address resident’s concerns alongside their efforts to preserve heritage assets.

A spokesperson for Sandby (Bardsey) Ltd, Bramham Park Estate’s project manager for the development said: “The proposals would contribute c.£1m through the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) for the Local Authority to spend on any health, education and other infrastructure improvements required to service the new homes.

“Of this sum, £250,000 could be given directly to the Parish Council to spend. More than 60 percent of the site in Bardsey would be left open and would not be developed – primarily to mitigate flood risk but also to offer attractive, new open space for local people to use.

“The Bramham Park Estate has buildings and heritage assets that are of national importance.

“The planning system places great weight on the preservation and enhancement of heritage assets simply because they are a finite resource - once they are lost they are lost forever.”

Plans for a public park have also been altered to address concerns over flooding and drainage.