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No affordable housing in Otley hospital development is a ‘deal breaker’
6:00am Friday 6th September 2013 in Local news
Councillors have branded the lack of any affordable housing in redevelopment plans for Otley’s old hospital a “deal breaker”.
Proposals to convert the Grade II listed former Wharfedale General Hospital site (pictured) have been mooted since 2008 and at one point included a commitment to make 30 per cent of the new homes affordable.
But the latest, 60 property scheme – debated by Otley Town Council on Monday – contains no affordable provision at all, despite the town “crying out” for such homes.
Otley’s planning and development committee is now unanimously calling on Leeds City Council to ask the developer to resubmit amended plans.
Town council leader Councillor John Eveleigh (Lab, Ashfield) said: “Whilst we felt the scheme had many merits, both in preserving the heritage buildings and in developing a brownfield site, there was disquiet about the lack of any affordable housing proposals.
“We all found it hard to comprehend how such a large development could not accommodate some affordable housing.
“We also expressed concern about the building materials for the new properties, feeling that the proposals in the application would not necessarily enhance the older buildings.
“We hope the developer will take our comments into consideration and revise the application accordingly.
“There is strong support for developing the old hospital site but we have to have the type of development the town needs and the town is crying out for more affordable homes.”
The hospital scheme would see 27 converted townhouses created, along with eight apartments within the Listed Buildings, and 25 new family homes. It also includes the retention and restoration of original features like the site’s distinctive chimney stack.
The town council’s planning committee has also judged that greenfield land beside the old railway line, off Bradford Road, is “entirely unsuitable” for housing. A developer is proposing to build five large, detached homes on the site, with access provided by a track leading onto the road.
The committee – which heard objections from residents Naomi Kirby and Neil Jameson on Monday – has formally objected, citing concerns over access, waterlogging, and the impact on wildife and the landscape.
Deputy chairman Councillor Carl Morris (Lab, Manor) said: “We’re absolutely clear that this site is entirely unsuitable for development. There will be an impact on residents, significant and unresolvable traffic issues, as well an encroachment on greenfield land abutting the Chevin. We’ve objected on these technical grounds, but this isn’t even the kind of development we need in Otley.
“Young people in the town desperately require affordable housing, not five great stonking detached houses built on greenfield land that is a precious community resource.
“The committee has therefore also recommended that this land be taken back into the greenbelt, so we can preserve it for future generations.”
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