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800 houses threaten Wetherby overload

by Wetherby Liberal Democrats on 30 August, 2019

The approval of 800 houses at Racecourse Approach demands that Wetherby’s needs must be seriously considered

David Hopps, chair of Wetherby Liberal Democrats has called for Leeds’ ruling Labour group to recognise the pressing needs of the Wetherby area after the Leeds City Council Plans Panel approved a scheme for 800 houses at Racecourse Approach.

Liberal Democrat councillor Colin Campbell voted against the scheme on the grounds that it was unsustainable in its current form.

Hopps said that the go-ahead would now worsen infrastructure issues in the town unless Leeds City Council “began to listen to the facts and accept that solutions were now needed more than ever.”

He said: “For such a large scheme to be approved in its current form with no support proposals is further evidence that Leeds’ ruling Labour group largely regards Wetherby as a cash cow and have no deep interest in the town.

“Wetherby Liberal Democrats will continue to represent the many who feel disenfranchised and fight for the outcomes the town needs.

Wetherby Lib Dems will continue to press for the necessary infrastructure so this development works for everybody. The Tory one-party town is failing time and again to press the arguments home

“We need affordable housing to retain a healthy, balanced community and this development can go some way to providing it. Approached properly, a new development can also be a boost to the town centre by bringing in extra business.

“But Racecourse Approach, as it stands, is an unsustainable development because it has to come with a Council commitment to improvements in other areas.

“Nobody but the Liberal Democrats are talking about the need for a Park and Ride facility in Wetherby, the fact that Wetherby has been starved of the extra transport funds that have gone to the rest of Leeds, environmental issues or the growing pressures on our junior schools and medical centres.

“To be fair, a junior school has been proposed by the developer, but under current suggestions it would start too late into the building and there would be chaos in the interim.

“Wetherby Lib Dems will continue to press for the necessary infrastructure so this development works for everybody. The Tory one-party town is failing time and again to press the arguments home. Electing a Lib Dem councillor would finally help to achieve better outcomes.”

Hopps added: “We recognise that Wetherby Conservatives opposed this scheme. But, unless you have suppressed ambitions to run a travel company, laying on a few buses for campaigners isn’t enough.

“The fact is that Racecourse Approach was allocated for housing as part of the Site Allocation Plan was a consequence of Wetherby Tories’ failed and misguided obsession with other big-settlement housing solutions at Headley Hall and Parlington.

“I will say two other positive things about this scheme in its present form – firstly, a commitment to 35% affordable housing is welcome and, secondly, it will help ensure the viability of Wetherby High School. The Liberal Democrats were the only party to argue that both schools at Boston Spa and Wetherby were necessary. That will become clearer with every passing year.”

3 Responses

  1. Adam says:

    It’s a shame that the LibDems have opposed this development. As a Libdem voter (not a member) and a resident of Wetherby under the age of 25 I fully support this development as it will increase the housing stock in Wetherby and allow me to hopefully buy a house local to where I grew up. It’s a real shame that you have opposed a developer who is known nationally for building quite affordable homes and has quite a high reputation for quality. I also have looked at the section 106 agreements and believe them to be quite generous, perhaps a little too much. Opposing a development and giving very vague reasons about “not knowing about the needs if the area” or “talking about the need for a Park and Ride facility in Wetherby ” strikes me as both unprofessional and obtuse. I would have thought better from you, especially as there is a clear need for housing in Wetherby (as it is comfortable to both leeds and york)

    A real shame. I’m actually really disappointed.

    • Adam says:

      Commutable not comfortable *

    • Wetherby Liberal Democrats says:

      Thanks for your comment. We submitted a detailed comment to the Plans Panel about why we could not support the scheme in its current form which did not just represent knee jerk opposition to housing (far from it) but sought a balanced response. The sustainability and infrastructure issue is important when considering big housing developments and indeed these national guidelines are clearly stated.Young adults need homes. But they also need real affordable homes that connect them properly with sufficient local services such as schools and doctors to ensure a proper quality of life.