Wetherby retirement housing plans to be resubmitted in new year

Former Benfield Motors site on Deighton Road, chosen as the site for sheltered housing.
Former Benfield Motors site on Deighton Road, chosen as the site for sheltered housing.

A scheme to turn a former car showroom into sheltered housing for the elderly will be resubmitted in the new year.

Plans, initially for 63 apartments to replace the former Benfield Motors site on Deighton Road, were submitted to Leeds City Council (LCC) in August 2013.

In December 2013 an appeal for non-determination was launched by applicants Churchill Retirement Living Ltd, which was dismissed by a government inspector in September 2014.

Now, agents from Planning Issues Ltd dealing with the development are planning to resubmit an amended application in January 2015, after working with the council.

A spokesman said: “Since the dismissal we have been working closely with the planning and design officers at LCC to overcome the concerns that were made in respect of that dismissed scheme.

“We are looking to submit an amended scheme in the first week of the new year, commencing January 5.

“Essentially that will have a reduced scale and massing, a simplified design, and use of materials to correspond with those concerns.”

A report published by government inspector Wenda Fabian who dismissed the appeal said: “The proposed building would have a much greater height, mass and visual presence, in particular when seen from within the conservation area where its materials, height, massing, form and detailed design would taken together produce a dominant appearance at odds with that of the conservation area and its surroundings.”

The inspector concluded at the appeal that the proposal would harm the character and appearance of its surroundings and the setting of Wetherby conservation area.

It is these conclusions that the applicants have been working with LCC planners to overcome with the new plans for about 56 dwellings.

According to a spokesman, the development would provide ‘specifically designed housing for local elderly people - a recognised housing need’.

He added: “It would contribute to the vitality and viability of Wetherby town centre, and reduce the burden of health services and a more efficient use of public resources.

“It would also provide high density housing in proximity to services and shops, thereby reducing the need to travel by car.”

LCC was approached for a comment but a spokesman said a statement could not be provided at this time.