East of Otley Development Objection

1 May 2021

It is now nine weeks since the Hybrid Planning Application for the relief road, initial batch of houses and overall outline planning for the East of Otley site was submitted to Leeds City Council by the Otley East Consortium on Friday, 26th February.
What is causing the hold up? Is it the weight of reports on ecology, drainage/flooding, etc rightly required to justify a development of this size, which will impact the town in many ways?
Speculation now seems rife that the planning application may appear very soon, possibly next week? A LibDem election leaflet delivered to some residents in Danefield Ward is claiming the development could now include 737 houses, a larger area which extends into the Green Belt, reduced green space for residents and the destruction habitats. The leaflet offers no supporting evidence, but this is alarming news if true!
It would have been more helpful for everyone who is concerned about the extent of East of Otley (which includes all political parties locally, stakeholder groups and wider Otley residents) if this had been shared openly, rather than used for short-term political gain. Everyone I have spoken to as a town councillor, both within Danefield Ward and beyond, has serious concerns. Unless we can stand together as a town, we will struggle to turn around the juggernaut which is Otley East Consortium.
An increase to 737 houses would be totally unacceptable and in no way does it make 550 homes suddenly become a reasonable figure. As Green Party town councillor, along with the Green Party candidate for Danefield Ward, I believe 550 homes is already excessive; particularly if affordable homes are sacrificed to allow for more executive homes. Any loss of existing green space and wildlife, which residents currently enjoy, should be challenged. Access to open countryside should not be barred by a poorly-designed relief road, which all too soon could see a stream of quarry lorries extracting gravel from nearby green belt land.
When this application does appear on the Leeds Planning website, then East of Otley Action Group, working alongside ODD, will have used the nine weeks to prepare and to have briefed lawyers ready to challenge the developers. The validity of these suggested higher housing figures and greater area of the development site are key to preparing the best legal response. If we work together, we are in a stronger position to challenge proposals which fail to take full account of protecting residents’ enjoyment of green space and access to open countryside.
Mick Bradley Otley Town Councillor Danefield & Cath Harrison Green Party candidate Danefield.
This story has even got the attention of The Guardian, a national newspaper.

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