Eric Pickles blocks 400-home development near Leeds

Communities secretary Eric Pickles decided against 400-home development site near Leeds.

Communities secretary Eric Pickles decided against 400-home development site near Leeds.

A housing project that was earmarked for a site in Farsley near Leeds has been turned down by Communities secretary Eric Pickles. The outline application was submitted n 2012 by Thornhill Estates, who would have erected 400 housing units.

Leeds City Council refused the application, but the developer lodged in an appeal in July 2013.

Mr Pickles cited what he termed as concerns over ‘adverse impacts on local character and identity’. Although the inspector, Mark Dakeyne, had originally recommended that the appeal be allowed after an initial public local inquiry in 2013, he advised the Communities secretary against giving the project a green light, following the findings emanating from a reopened inquiry in 2014.

When the secretary of state sought comments from the parties involved last spring, publication of the government’s online planning practice guidance and on habitats issues, the inquiry was reopened for determination. It was in his decision letter that the secretary of state indicated that since “the presumption in the framework in favour of sustainable development” did not apply since the council had then identified a five-year supply of housing land in an up-to-date core strategy without the appeal site

Affirming his decision to refuse the housing scheme, he concluded would have an impact of the Farsley Conservation Area, fearing that the development of the 400-home site would have the “adverse impact on local character and identity and the loss of a site of intrinsic value.”

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