The decision on the controversial plans for the former Ice Pak factory on Barkly Road in Beeston will now be decided by a Planning Inspector after Aspiring Communities lodged an appeal for ‘non-determination’.
The application was due to be heard at the South & West Plans Panel meeting on Thursday (19 November 2015) but was withdrawn from the agenda in the light of the appeal. Planning Authorities, in this case Leeds City Council, have 13 weeks to determine (decide) an application, beyond that point the developer can apply for non determination which removes the decision from the Council to an Inspector appointed by central government.
In a statement on their website Aspiring Communities say:
“It is now 13 months since the application was submitted and that was after extensive discussions with officers that should in theory have led to a swift decision.
“Instead after months of fruitless negotiations where we felt we were going round in circles, the Planning Authority withdrew the application from the Panel agenda the day before it we due to be heard. For two months afterwards we had no communication with the Authority despite attempts to engage with them, and now, when they have contacted us they are asking the same questions and raising the same issues as they did in May.
“As such we have been left with no alternative but to appeal on the grounds of non determination because we are no nearer a decision.”
At a meeting of Beeston Community Forum last week, Cllr David Congreve clarified that the matter would be discussed by the Plans Panel at their meeting on 10 December. They will not approve or reject the application, but decide whether they support or oppose it. He also said he doubted that the inspector would conduct a public enquiry, as these were only normally used for major schemes such as the Trolleybus.
A letter from Leeds’ Chief Planning Officer Martin Sellens to Chris Weetman, Aspiring Communities’ consultant at the end of October raised a series of questions about the application, which the Council clearly feel have not been answered to their satisfaction. The letter has been made available to Beeston Community Forum and the Save Our Beeston campaign, but has not been placed on the Planning Portal website.
A statement on the Save Our Beeston Facebook group said:
“Save our Beeston along with Beeston Community Forum are pleased that they will be given an opportunity to present their concerns behind this perfidious scheme and are as determined as ever to extirpate this megalomaniac obsession.”
Public documents relating to the Aspiring Communities application, including plans, letters of support and objections and other correspondence can be viewed at: https://publicaccess.leeds.gov.uk/online-applications/ and entering the reference number 14/06007/FU.