Builder told to go back to drawing board over affordable homes on former Otley hospital site (From Ilkley Gazette)
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Builder told to go back to drawing board over affordable homes on former Otley hospital site
12:59pm Friday 18th October 2013 in News
Developers hoping to convert Otley’s old hospital into housing have had to go back to the drawing board.
Town councillors last month branded the lack of any affordable housing in the plans for the former Wharfedale General Hospital site a “deal breaker”.
The developer responded to such concerns by offering, to planning officers at Leeds City Council, to make just two of the properties in the 60-home scheme affordable.
That offer has been rejected and the application has, for now, been withdrawn.
Councillor Colin Campbell (Lib Dem, Otley & Yeadon) said: “We would argue that Otley is a high-value area with developers fighting to get in, so we should not compromise on principles.”
Councillor Ryk Downes (Lib Dem, Otley & Yeadon) added: “We are not against development, but it must not be at any cost.
“There are also local schemes which could be funded by this development including Newall Park play area and yellow lines on the east side of Newall Carr Road.”
There have been several proposals floated for redeveloping the Grade II-listed buildings and the surrounding land over the past five years, including a scheme that would have made 30 per cent of the new homes affordable.
Town council leader Councillor John Eveleigh (Lab, Ashfield), commenting in September on the lack of any such provision in the latest plans, said the town was “crying out” for cheaper homes.
Town Councillor Carl Morris (Lab, Manor), reacting to the two affordable homes offer, added: “Everyone really wants to see the hospital development go ahead, but the developers need to come back with a serious offer on the table about affordable housing.
“I recognise the high cost of the heritage conversion means they can’t get close to the 33 per cent of units normally expected. But there has to be more emphasis on affordability – we need homes that young families in Otley can actually afford.”
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