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HUGE NEW PLANS: D-day for Morley industrial estate

HUGE NEW PLANS: D-day for Morley industrial estate

An artist impression of Capitol Park

A planning application to build a huge new industrial estate on the site of a farm in Morley is set to go before Leeds City Council decision-makers next week.

Proposals to build Capitol Park on land around Topcliffe Beck include more than a million square feet of “employment floorspace” as well as car parking, landscaping and links to nearby roads.

But the scheme has attracted hundreds of letters of objection, with many worrying the scheme could impact on nearby traffic and destroy a much-loved beauty spot.

Developers have previously claimed the site would create an extra 2,000 jobs and 30 apprenticeships, and that it was “committed to Morley”.

According to a Leeds City Council planning document, the masterplan for the site lists five buildings with a total floorspace of 102,890 square metres, as well as 1,315 parking spaces.

The report added that the scheme is proposed to be finished by mid-2025, but that this was dependant on “market buoyancy”.

The site is currently occupied by Topcliffe Grange Farm.

The application has attracted 393 representations from members of the public, with only five in support of the scheme.

Some of the misgivings expressed by the letters included the need to save Topcliffe Grange Farm, that the site should instead be a park and ride, and that it cuts locals off from green belt areas in Morley.

One objection letter read: “I feel this development is not in harmony with the residential area, is unsightly, and is irreconcilable with the Morley Town Deal which advocates encouraging the use of open space in the Borough to gain a resultant improvement in residents’ physical and mental well-being (and the paths through this proposed site are very well used at present, as I am sure your own surveys will
show).

“I am at a loss to understand how the development can be reconciled with LCC stated aims that developments should ‘contribute positively to place making, quality of life and wellbeing’.”

According to the design and access statement from developers Sterling Capitol, the scheme would build on the “success” of the current Capitol Park site nearby.

It read: “The proposed development will build on the success of the existing Capitol Park and open up more development plots for further investment in the region.

“The site is allocated within the adopted Leeds Site Allocation Plan and is easily accessible to all modes of transport and provides easy access within the site curtilage.

“The document demonstrates how the proposals have responded to the existing context how the applicant and the wider consultancy team’s approach to achieving a high quality development.”

Despite the hundreds of objections, Leeds City Council planning officers have suggested the scheme be approved in principle, but subject to numerous conditions on the developer. These include contributing more than £1m to nearby road improvements, as well as restrictions on building heights.

The report read: “In summary, the public benefits of the proposal both in terms of impact upon the cultural heritage of the site and any impact upon wider heritage assets, together with the impact upon the Green Belt, are considered to be acceptable.”

Members of Leeds City Council’s City Plans Panel will meet on Thursday, November 26 to discuss the plans.

 

Words: Richard Beecham, Local Democracy Reporter


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