Local residents have been reacting to the decision by a Planning Inspector to grant planning permission to Aspiring Communities controversial plans for the former Ice Pak factory on Barkly Road in Beeston.
Speaking to the Yorkshire Evening Post, the leader of Save Our Beeston, Sean Sturman said:
“We’re very disappointed. We’ve been fighting this for four years. The main worry is 3,000 people voted against it – local people, the three councillors voted against it, Hilary Benn our MP voted against it and now it takes one man who doesn’t live here, to decide the fate of the people.
“It’s caused a lot of division to be honest. When we found out yesterday there was a massive amount of ill-feeling. It will probably split the community to be honest. “We’re going to see three years of huge construction – some of the houses are one yard away. It’s the safety of the kids – there are three infant schools in the proximity. “We are not happy. All the residents are not happy.”
Ash Mahmood, on behalf of Aspiring Communities has issued the following statement:
“We are obviously happy to have been granted planning permission, but wish to go forward not alone, but in partnership with a wide range of local people and organisations. That was always our intention, and we’re sorry we failed to communicate that clearly. We’re 100% open to ideas.“We acknowledge the conflict that has previously arisen these past years, and the legitimate concerns that have been raised. We regret our part in that, and have learnt a lot.“We are not going to get embroiled with individuals on social media. There is a lot of anger being vented by local individuals who have opposed the project from day one but more disheartening are the comments of a racial nature being made by some.“The Aspiring Communities vision and in particular this community project was and is all about community cohesion, tolerance and respect, we will continue to work in partnership with the community to break down any barriers and unfortunate stereotypes.“We look forward to opening a highly inclusive, open access facility, but this is a two way process. We need and welcome the involvement feedback and engagement from all sections of the community.”