Housing plan for Otley's old hospital to be given go-ahead?

Ilkley Gazette: An old picture of the grade II-listed former Wharfedale General Hospital in Otley An old picture of the grade II-listed former Wharfedale General Hospital in Otley

Much-debated proposals to turn Otley’s former hospital into housing could be approved by planners today, Thursday.

A 61-home scheme for the old Wharfedale General site, on Newall Carr Road, hit problems earlier this year when town and ward councillors criticised its lack of affordable housing as a “deal breaker”.

The developer is now offering to make three of the properties affordable – still way below the 35 per cent normal requirement, which in this case would equate to 21 homes.

But Leeds South and West Plans Panel will be recommended to defer and delegate the scheme for approval when it meets in the Civic Hall today.

The report on the proposals, to convert the former hospital into 27 houses and eight flats and build 26 homes, concludes: “This application represents an important opportunity to restore and secure the future use of the historic buildings on the site and to provide 61 new dwellings in a sustainable location.

“The proposed level of affordable housing at only three dwellings is approximately five per cent of the total, which is very far short of the 35 per cent policy requirement which would equate to 21 dwellings.

“Officers are satisfied, however, that the three dwellings provided fairly represent what this scheme can viably support and that an exception to policy can therefore be justified.”

The approval, if granted, would come with a series of conditions attached. They include: the developer making a £115,617 green space contribution; completing the housing within three years; providing £56,173 for public transport improvements; a £25,200 Metro Card scheme for residents, and a travel plan fee.

Other conditions include planting replacement trees, providing detailed drainage and surface water plans, and submitting details about the listed building restoration features.

Several proposals have been mooted for redeveloping the Grade II-listed hospital buildings and surrounding land over the past five years.

They included an ‘eco village’ scheme that would have incorporated a range of environmentally sustainable features and made a third of the homes affordable.

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