Plans to demolish the landmark Middleton Arms pub and replace it with an Aldi discount food store were this afternoon approved by planners.
Aldi’s plans for a new store with 75 parking spaces, which would create between 20-30 jobs, had been recommended for refusal by planning officers who were concerned over the loss of a historic building and the potential impact on neighbouring houses.
But city councillors at the Civic Hall overruled planning officers’ concerns – and those of some local residents – and granted approval in principle. Aldi came back to today’s meeting of the council’s East Plans Panel with a revised layout, moving the proposed building 1m to the north and 1.5m to the west.
Labour Cross Gates and Whinmoor councillor Peter Gruen said:
“The applicant has made genuine attempts to satisfy the panel’s concerns about the affect of the development on neighbouring homes. The new store will be an employment opportunity for local people and could in retail terms benefit local people. Is the balance sufficient to approve this plan?”
Burmantofts and Richmond Hill Liberal Democrat Ralph Pryke said:
“On balance Aldi have met the wishes of the plans panel by moving the store away from number 98 Middleton Park Road and the main road. I regret the loss of the trees to the front and I’d recommend inserting a condition that they’re replaced by adequate planting.”
Temple Newsam Labour councillor Mick Lyons said he did not understand where council officers were coming from in terms of recommending the plans should be refused. He added: “We should be accepting this proposal and rejecting the officers’ recommendations.”
The meeting unanimously agreed to approve the plans and delegate final approval to the chief planning officer, subject to the developer meeting conditions including adequate planting to the front and side and a restriction on the type of goods it can sell.
The application received 18 individual letters of objection, one postcard of objection, three letters of support and 74 postcards in support. A further objection had been received from the occupants at 98 Middleton Park Road about the detrimental impact of the development on their property.
The application had been previously deferred twice .
A South Leeds Life poll back in August showed 57% of respondents were in favour of the plans, 33% against and the rest were neutral. What do you think? Have your say in the comments section below.