Homes plans viewing

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Controversial plans for up to 800 new homes at Wetherby will be open to view at a consultation meeting on Friday June 7.

And objectors are urging supporters to make their views know by attending the event, at Wetherby Town Hall from 2-7pm, staged by developers Taylor Wimpey for the Racecourse Approach site.

“This is a wholly unsustainable solution for our town, runs counter to sound planning practice and contrary to the aims of Leeds City Council’s recently declared Climate Emergency Policy,” said Peter Swales Chairman of Better Wetherby.

“We urge all our supporters to attend the Town Hall event and continue to lodge their objections to these proposals.”

In a publicity statement for the meeting Taylor Wimpey said that they expected that, in line with the Local Plan, the application near Wetherby YOI, would be approved by Leeds City Council’s planning Committee next month.

“Given the amount of time that has elapsed since the application was lodged, it has been decided to invite Wetherby residents to an information event where questions can be asked of the project team,” said the statement.

Since being first put forward in April 2017, the plans, which include a new school and shops, have been met with strong opposition from Wetherby Town Council and residents alike.

They claim that the proposal would create a community detached from the town and put more pressure on resources.

Mr Swales added: “This publicity event by Taylor Wimpey has been forced on them as a direct result of Better Wetherby contesting the proposal by the Chief Planning Officer of Leeds to grant consent for the scheme when the City’s Plans Panel met 29th March.

“We mounted a vigorous defence of our case for refusal.

“We emphasised that the site was completely detached from the Town from the rest of Wetherby both physically and socially by the motorway,” added Mr Swales.

“Notwithstanding the claim by the developers that their proposal to fund a shuttle bus connection to the town would offset the isolation of the site, we maintain that this isolated location would not deter many to use their cars, accessing an already congested, polluted town road network.

“Wetherby people have always found it easy and safe to walk and cycle into the town centre and our schools. This scheme offers no such opportunity to encourage such pedestrian and cycle journeys.

“On the contrary you are given the option to risk life and limb by walking or cycling over Junction 46 on the A1[M], or by crossing over this heavily trafficked national six lane motorway via York Road bridge with minimal improvement to accommodate pedestrians and cyclists.

“This is a very unattractive, unsafe proposition and flies in the face of the claimed policy of the City Council who now wish to encourage greater pedestrian and cycling transport to meet their climate Emergency targets.”

Mr Swales went added: “This has demonstrated the strength of our new Wetherby Partnership to ensure we put ‘better homes in better places’.

“We are grateful for the Panel members’ willingness to give more thought to our case.

“We have consistently made the case that if Wetherby has to provide new homes, this site and the type of housing proposed by Taylor Wimpey is not the way to go about it.

“Apart from the site being detached from Wetherby, this proposal illustrates a wholly developer lead initiative of their interpretation of what housing Wetherby needs.

“It is time our community had a say in a better approach to meeting our housing needs, as opposed to the aspirations of developers and the compliant attitude of Leeds Planners.

“We need a new range of homes which people, especially young people can rent and older people can down-size to, either renting or buying.

“More compliance with Climate Emergency sustainability criteria is now central to our case which is why we will be requesting an urgent meeting with Councillor Lisa Mulherin who has recently taken up the new Executive Member position addressing Climate Change, Transport and Sustainability for the City Council.”