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QUARRY HILL: Blueprints for hundreds of flats get green light

QUARRY HILL: Blueprints for hundreds of flats get green light

Image: LDRS

Blueprints to build hundreds of flats on a site in Quarry Hill have been approved by Leeds City Council planning chiefs.

Members of the council’s City Plans Panel approved a reserved matters application, which presented previously approved plans in more detail to decision-makers, for two blocks containing 331 build to rent properties on the site.

The blocks, set to be seven and thirteen storeys in height, are part of the larger so-called “SoYo” project, which aims to help regenerate the area between Quarry House and Leeds City College’s new Quarry Hill campus.

During discussions on the plans, Leeds City councillors had mixed opinions on the scheme, with some worried at the designs and access to the site.

But the panel ultimately approved the plans, which will see housing on the site for the first time in more than 40 years.

During the meeting Coun Dan Cohen (Con) said: “Looking at the east elevation, it just looks like one great big block of mass. Everything else seems to be broken up and visually pleasing – this just looks like one big great block of whatever. Is that intentional? What can be done to stop it looking so hideous.”

Council planning officer Steve Varley said: “I see Coun Cohen’s point, but I wouldn’t be unduly concerned. This is one of the elevations that faces Quarry Hill – it is not one of the primary ones.

“This is a moment of calm – a building can be too excited. It’s ordered and calm.”

According to a report by Leeds City Council planning officers, the developers had claimed the scheme could not support on-site affordable units. However, the district valuer has since concluded the scheme can in fact support 27 on-site affordable units, based on discounted rental rates.

The meeting was told: “Construction costs are increasing at the moment, mainly because the cost of supplies and materials. We have come out at an accurate and reasonable conclusion based on all the information available.”

Coun Graham Latty (Con) said of the site: “We are looking at an island cut off from the rest of Leeds by an incredibly busy road.

“As a council, we are desperate to stop people using cars, but the best way to get to this place is by car. On foot you either have a long wait at the lights or a perilous dash across the road.”

On the entrance to the site, Coun Peter Carlill (Lab) added: “We have got a great route in there that is just one flat surface, in future we need to look at segregated provision. Otherwise we are going to get conflict with pedestrians.”

According to a report, the buildings would also include a gym, amenity areas, a rooftop terrace, and below-ground car parking. Of the 331 flats, eight would be studios, 186 one-beds, 121 two-beds and 16 three-beds.

It would be the first time people have been housed in the area since the famous Quarry Hill Flats social housing scheme was demolished in 1978.

Members of the panel voted in favour of the plans.

Words: Richard Beecham, Local Democracy Reporter


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