by David Mackie and Elizabeth Archer
‘SOGGY BOTTOM’ residents are pushing for an internal investigation after plans for 135 homes were approved on nearby flood-prone land
Developer Taylor Wimpey’s plans were granted permission by Leeds City Council on 11 December despite nearly 700 objections from local residents.
On Wednesday Cookridge Residents Action Group (CRAG) said they would continue to fight the development, and remained concerned that houses on the site would worsen flooding in the area and have an adverse effect on wildlife.
Councillor Barry Anderson, who attended the meeting, said: “I am concerned that councillors have agreed to this against their professional integrity.
“CRAG has submitted Freedom of Information Requests to find out what went wrong.”
Taylor Wimpey submitted plans to build 200 homes on the plot in July 2014, including access to the development through a stretch of Green Belt land to Cookridge Drive.
Both plans were rejected by the council on 20 November, due to concerns about Moseley Wood Beck flooding.
Objections were also raised at the planning meeting that oversubscribed local schools would be put under extra strain, and that local amenities would not be accessible to older people since the development lies at the bottom of a valley.
Dr Michael Lowry, a Moseley Wood Gardens resident and Chairman of CRAG, said the council’s decision to allow building on the greenfield site was “beyond belief.”
A report by Chief Planning Officer Mathias Franklin said: “Taylor Wimpey are considered on balance to have overcome the reasons for refusal set out in the previous application.”
A spokesperson for Taylor Wimpey said: “We have developed an initial detailed drainage solution which was submitted as part of the Outline Planning Application.
“We will take on board the views of both our professional consultants and the Leeds City Council Officers.”
These discussions are happening at a sensitive time for housing developers. This week, a North Leeds MP blasted the city council for the ‘shocking’ levels of development on the city’s greenbelt.
Stuart Andrew, Conservative MP for Pudsey, Horsforth and Aireborough, made the comments in the House of Commons.
Describing the council’s house building ambitions as an ‘onslaught’, he also issued a plea for more sensitive development, such as on brownfield sites within the city.