Plans have been approved to build a new house on green belt land in an area of rural Leeds, despite objections.
by Eliza Laben and Shaun Turner
Planning permission was granted yesterday, by the North and East Plans Panel, to replace the Pump House in the East Keswick and Bardsey area.
The former Yorkshire Water Pump House will be demolished to build a new, three-bed home. However, councillors say the plan is an ‘inappropriate development’.
According to councillors the development conflicts with Policies H1 and H2 of the Bardsey Neighbourhood Plan, that a new development should be located outside of green belt land and should not consist of more than two bedrooms.
Councillors also objected to the 350 m long drive to the house, which will cut straight through the green belt and can no longer be used as an access track.
Chris Sidle, Vice Chair for Bardsey Parish Council said: “The combination of the house and the access drive we believe, will do substantial not limited harm to the openness of the green belt.”
The applicants requested planning permission based on ‘very special circumstances’, including supporting brownfield sites and that there is no potential impact on residents.
A spokesman for the applicant said: “It removes existing health and safety issues and ends anti social behaviour and drug taking.”
Councillor Salma Arif for Gipton and Harehills, said: “It would be a special circumstance particularly taking notice of the fact that the family wanted to bring up their young children closer to their immediate family.
“Every application has to be dealt with on its own merits so i have to look at the facts of that specific case.”
During yesterday’s meeting, Andy Batty, Chairman for East Keswick Parish Council said:
“The brownfield makes you think of an eyesore to be replaced by something better, but this is a rustic house in the middle of a green belt field, hidden from view, which is going to be replaced by a luxury home which wants those views.
“It suggests this does not meet the very special circumstances that have been imposed.”
The plan also exceeds council policies on the size of the proposed house. It is set to be 34% larger than the current standing building, however policies state it should not exceed 30%.
Councillor Dawn Collins for Horsforth said: “When we are given the opportunity to discuss with planners and someone who wants to develop this site, why have we allowed it to drift to 34% when our own policies and documentation suggest it should be 30%.
“I find it it increasingly frustrating that planning just allows these small things to drift and it allows future developers to come and manipulate our system even more.”
When asked what should be done with the Pump House instead, Chris Sidle said, “I think we would probably be inclined to recommend keeping it as it is and re-screening it.”
David Rose, Regional Chair of Campaign to Protect Rural England for Yorkshire and the Humber said he was disappointed:
“CPRE have been trying to persuade the government for years to protect greenbelt land and to build on brownfield land, of which there is plenty all round the country.
“Developers obviously want to use the green belt and were really disappointed and quite sad about the fact that local authorities keeping allowing development on green belt land.”