As the concerns surrounding the recent planning applications mount, local voices in Adel have come together to pose questions to those in authority and to express community disapproval. A meeting was held on Thursday 8th May in the Adel Memorial Hall on Church Lane. Both Hallam Land and David Wilson Homes representatives attended the meeting, alongside those from Leeds City Council and around one hundred residents of the area.
The application from Hallam Land Management is for a site of 88 houses to be built on land east of Otley Road. In addition, the proposal for building from David Wilson Homes is for a further 60 homes (in extremely close proximity to their recent Centurion Fields and Bodington Manor developments) to be situated off Church Lane/Holt Avenue.
The issues in discussion, at the meeting, consisted of:
1. A concern for the effects of increasing levels of traffic on to Church Lane and Otley road, which alongside proposed housing developments in Bramhope and elsewhere in Adel (off Adel Lane) would make the A660 even more pandemonic than it currently is.
2. Some argued that the decimation of open green space is detrimental to the neighbourhood, expressing the need to protect the heritage of the church and surrounding area.
3. Others highlighted the impact that the proposed housing would have on local infrastructure, as there are already issues of oversubscription at nearby primary and secondary schools.
4. Other comments expressed the view that the mix in the types of housing might not be aesthetically pleasing, looking out of place against the surrounding rural backdrop.
There was some discussion of English Heritage’s objection to both applications. Mark Johnson, a representative for Johnson Brook (agent for DWH and Hallam Land) stated in the meeting that they are looking at the response from English Heritage with care and do not treat it lightly. What is more, Mr Johnson said that heritage is important to the developers and they have consulted with three separate heritage specialists in the planning process. This response evokes a sense of seriousness in reference to both sites potential impact on Adel’s heritage, yet still leaves ambiguity on how this might impact their proposals.
In our view, another very important issue is that these new homes are not affordable housing, and will not make purchasing a property any easier – for the first time buyer or the growing elderly population who are seeking independent living. With current properties being built on nearby land at Centurion Fields starting at £450,000 – and some reaching £800,000 – it could be suggested that these houses are financially out of reach, even to those with a comfortable income – in no sense do they represent “affordable homes”.
The Adel and Wharfdale Branch Labour Party have filed two formal objections, opposing the applications for both the Otley Road and the Church Lane sites. These objections are documented below, comprehensively detailing the consensus of beliefs and professional opinion, in resistance of the proposed developments. With over 400 objection comments on Leeds City Councils website, there seems to be an encouragingly large public response.
More information can be found on this topic at the Leeds City Council Website for Planning. The applications in question can be found by their references via the website: Otley Road 14/01660, Church Lane 14/01874. The LCC website also has the facility to leave personal objection comments.
Adel & Wharfedale Branch Labour Party
OBJECTION to Applications 14/01660 and 14/01874#
The Adel & Wharfedale Labour Party objects to the application to build houses east of Otley Road by Hallam Land Management Limited and off Church Lane by Barratt David Wilson Homes for the following reasons:
– protection of a possible archaeological site;
– the protection of the area’s heritage;
– infrastructural issues;
– the proposals do not address housing needs in Leeds;
– building on green field sites when much brownfield land is available;
The Adel sites off Church Lane and off Otley Road where building is proposed is in close proximity to what might be the largest Roman site in West Yorkshire. Whether that is the case or not great care should be exercised before irreversible damage to these possible archaeological sites is caused by building or disturbing the area in any way.
Desk-top studies undertaken by CgMs Consulting can only reveal what has already been found and recorded and simply because little or nothing has been found and recorded, it does not follow that there is nothing to find. CgMs consultants do say,
“Within the surroundings of the site, there are several prehistoric/Roman finds and features…”
In our view that is enough to call for a full archaeological survey to be carried out on the proposed sites before these proposals are taken any further. Desk top surveys are one thing, a ‘Time Team’ like ground survey is another.
The Yorkshire Office of English Heritage summarises its assessment of the proposed developments thus:
“The Church of John the Baptist, Adel is one of the finest examples of a twelfth-century church building in the country. The setting of the church and associated conservation area retains a strong rural character and this enables an appreciation of its early origins and isolated position …” and, English Heritage considers that the proposed development, by virtue of its scale and proximity, would not preserve those elements of the setting of the church and conservation area which contribute positively to their significance.” The organisation then goes on, “we object to the application … and recommend that outline permission is refused”.
Adel & Wharfedale Labour Party believes that the proposed developments will change the character of Adel and particularly the church’s surroundings to such an extent that much will be lost forever.
Highways, schools and healthcare facilities are already working at or near capacity. The infrastructure would have to be improved significantly to cope adequately with these housing proposals which are in addition to the demands that the populations from Centurion Fields, Bodington Manor and the developments at the government building site off Otley Road would make.
The A660 can not handle current demands for some parts of the day now. To proceed with the proposals for Adel together with developments in Cookridge, Bramhope and possibly Pool would be a recipe for serious road traffic problems even if the trolley bus scheme does all that its proposers say it will do.
4. Housing Needs
Proposals to build 3, 4 and 5 bedroom houses costing £500 000 upwards is not what is needed – which is affordable homes for rent and purchase for many young people and housing to meet the needs of a growing elderly population who are trying to lead independent lives.
The developers do not appear to have made any effort to build according to need. They have not assessed housing needs in any way as far as the documentation is concerned.
5. Greenfield Development
The local Labour Party and many others find that developing greenfield sites is unacceptable when there is an abundance of brownfield sites available.