Homes plans go to city council

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Controversial plans to build hundreds of houses on the outskirts of Wetherby are set to once again go before planning chiefs today (Thursday).

Developer Taylor Wimpey’s outline blueprints to build 800 homes, along with a new school, supermarket and park on 55.43 acres of land at Swinnow Park off Racecourse Approach are to go before Leeds City Council’s city plans panel for a decision.

But town and Leeds councillor Alan Lamb thinks this figure may rise: “The number of homes could eventually rise to 1,100 if approved which would equate to a 20 per cent increase in the population of Wetherby.

“It is a site that has capacity for 1,100 and was included in the Sites Allocation Plan with that number but it is in three different ownerships.

“If permission is given for 800, despite the fact they are not considering the other bits, then effectively the principal of developing the other bits will have been establised. It could even go up from there.”

The councillor added that alongside the Better Wetherby Partnership and on behalf of the Ward and Town Councillors, he will be addressing the panel to urge them to refuse the application.

“We do need more homes in Wetherby but they need to be smaller, affordable homes for older people to downsize to and young people to be able to have their first home.“

Coun Lamb added that there were ‘many’ issues with the application.

“It’s location effectively creates a new settlement on the other side of the motorway and would create the potential for significant future development.

“It is described in the planning paper as a new community which is what it would be and how it would feel and that is the challenge.

“There is no significant new infrastructure proposed, no new bus services, no doctors, no public transport improvements and little to mitigate the impacts there would be on our town centre which is already built to its physical limits.”

More than 100 letters objecting to the plans were sent to the authority from disgruntled locals, warning of the effects such a large-scale development would have on nearby schools, roads and amenities.

Independent town councillor Denise Podlewska said she objects to the plans.

“There is not the infrastructure to cope with this many new homes.

“The primary school won’t be built until hundreds of the houses are built - where will the children go to school in the meantime? Our primaries are full.”

The site, on the eastern edge of Wetherby, is currently used as farm land, but is allocated for residential and education use in the council’s Site Allocations Plan, expected to be adopted this summer.

A coach will leave the Cluster of Nuts car park at 12.15pm on Thursday March 28, to take residents to the planning meeting. Coun Lamb, who organised the trip with Councillors Gerald Wilkinson and Norma Harrington, said there were still a number of seats available. Contact Coun Lamb at: alanlamb@leeds.gov.uk