Outrage in Morley as nearly 300 homes given the go-ahead
LEEDS planners have given the go-ahead for developers to build 200 houses at Bruntcliffe and 92 at Daisy Hill in a decision that has shocked communities, afraid the local infrastructure cannot cope with the extra people and cars.
People living near the two sites have been campaigning for months against the developments, signing petitions and writing hundreds of objection letters but councillors on the South West Plans Panel took just hours last Thursday to vote both plans through.
Dave Paul, chairman of Morley Against Reckless Construction (MARC) and a resident of Daisy Hill, who was given three minutes to put his arguments against the development to the panel, said: “It is a bit of a blow, a big disappointment and I have never seen such a lethargic panel, they didn’t seem interested at all.
“I got the feeling (they thought) it is not our area, we don’t care.
“The people of this community deserve a better hearing and a better representation from the council.”
He added: “If we carry on like this Morley is going to be under two feet of concrete and it won’t take much to plan the place shut.”
Both applications were recommended for approval by planning officers who found that they complied with policies set down in the development plan and it would be hard to argue they are not sustainable.
The chief planning officer’s report on Daisy Hill also warned that contesting a planning appeal could result in costs being awarded against the council.
In 2011 the council had to pay legal bills running into tens of thousands of pounds after it lost a series of appeals brought by developers who were refused planning permission to build on greenfield sites.
Since then it has released a number of greenfield sites, including Daisy Hill, for development.
Morley North councillor and Leader of the Morley Borough Independents, Coun Robert Finnigan, called the decision “a travesty”.
“There were good grounds to refuse these applications but we are going back to the bad old days when we have a very strong suspicion that the decisions were made before anyone walked into that room.
“We can only give credit to local campaigners, they ran their campaign well and they views have been totally and utterly ignored.
“I think it brings the planning process into disrepute, the whole process needs a total overhaul.”
“At the point where the community’s views are regarded as irrelevant and of no value why bother? Why not say to developers you can develop where you want?”
Coun Peter Gruen, Leeds City Council executive board member for neighbourhoods, planning and support services said: “Councillors gave full consideration to these proposals after visiting both sites in the morning and discussing them in detail at plans panel.
“Speakers gave the case both for and against each proposal and members of the panel spent 45 minutes on Daisy Hill and 40 minutes on the Bruntcliffe Road application.
“In both cases the council had previously identified and released these greenfield sites for housing development, based on officer recommendations.
“This followed a series of appeal losses and costs awarded against the council for not having a five-year supply of land available.”
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