by Wetherby Liberal Democrats on 30 August, 2019
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.
“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.”