46 Burley Street

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46 Burley Street in relation to its surroundings
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Map showing 46 Burley Street shaded pink, and the houses on Kendal Walk shaded blue.
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Aerial photo showing the furniture depository before it was illegally demolished by the developer in 2013.

Contents

Introduction

Planning application 14/03735/FU was submitted in June 2014. It was to build a student block at 46 Burley Street that would have provided 128 studio flats and had 9 and 7 storeys facing Burley Street, and 7 and 5 storeys facing Park Lane. It was rejected on 12 February 2015 on the grounds of "inadequate amenities for the future residents" and "excessive height and bulk." The developer appealed the decision, and the appeal was dismissed on 10 September 2015.

Planning application 16/01322/FU was submitted in February 2016. It was for a building which would have provided 87 studio flats and have 7 storeys facing Burley Street and 5 storeys facing Park Lane. The proposed building would have been 2.9% less bulky than the proposal rejected on 12 February 2015 on account of its excessive bulk. The application was amended in May 2016 making the building 8 and 7 storeys facing Burley Street, and 6 and 5 storeys facing Park Lane. The amended application was considered too bulky by the city centre plans panel on 28 July 2016, and a decision was deferred to allow the application to be amended. An almost identical application came before the city centre plans panel on 8 September 2015 and was considered to be still too bulky. A decision was deferred to allow councillors to meet with the developer and planning officers at a "workshop." The workshop took place in private on 1 November 2016. On 8 December 2016, the city centre plans panel approved the application. The proposed building was just 2.6% less bulky that the application rejected on 12 February 2015 on account of its excessive bulk. The decision to approve the application raises several issues.

The report[1] presented by planning officers to the plans panel on 12 February 2014 recommended rejection of application 14/03735/FU on the sole ground of "inadequate amenities for future residents." It was only at the request of councillors that the additional grounds of "excessive height and bulk" were added. I attended the plans panel meeting. It seemed to me that the issue of "inadequate room size" was the only issue that planning officers were concerned about. Inadequate room size was a new and apparently exciting issue for planning officers and I suspected that they wanted to make 46 Burley Street a test case for it. Perhaps this explains why they had dropped their earlier insistence that two floors be removed from the lower southwestern section of the proposed development. At the plans panel which considered the subsequent planning application 16/01322/FU on 28 July 2016, whilst referring to the panel's refusal of application 14/03735/FU, the chief planning officer Tim Hill said,[2] " I just make one general point, which is that panel did not refuse this on the basis that it was student accommodation. It refused it on two grounds. Firstly, the internal room sizes, and secondly, if you like, the built form, and in particular, the height of the blade. So that the need for student accommodation, and whether it was or wasn’t going to be student accommodation, wasn’t an issue at that point." But height and bulk hadn't been issues for planning officers either, until councillors raised them. Planning officers didn't object to rejecting the application on the grounds of height and bulk, perhaps because they had already privately objected to the development on these grounds, as documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show. But they could hardly object to the principle of student accommodation as these same documents show that again and again, they had conceded this point to the developer. Perhaps this explains why planning officer Daljit Singh disagreed with Councillor Peter Gruen when he raised the issue of student accommodation at the 12 February 2015 plans panel meeting.[3]

My neighbour Richard Hellawell and I were refused permission to speak at the plans panel meeting that took place on 12 February 2015. We were told that this was because where an application is being recommended for rejection, people opposed to an application are only allowed to speak if the developer wishes to speak in favour of the application. This seems very unfair. It meant that our objections probably never came to the notice of councillors who almost never bother to read written objections. This made it much easier for planning officers to get the application refused on inadequate grounds, so that any future application would be that much easier to get approved. So because planning application 14/03735/FU wasn't refused on the principle of student accommodation, chief planning officer Tim Hill was able to say at the plans panel meeting on 28 July 2016, that the failure to reject application 14/03735/FU on the principle of student accommodation, meant it would be very hard for councillors to reject application 16/01322/FU on that principle.[2] But as we shall see later on in this exposition, material changes had occurred between 12 February 2015 and 28 July 2016 which meant that the issue of student accommodation should have been considered at the plans panel meeting on 28 July 2016.

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Summary of Issues

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1. Is it right to have student accommodation at 46 Burley Street?
  1. The site is located within Area 4 of the Kirkstall Road Renaissance Area Planning Framework.[4] This states that there has already too much residential development, and in particular, student development within Area 4.[5]
  2. The site is located in Little Woodhouse,[6] where in recent years, 14 student blocks have been built.[7] These have provided 4,572 bed spaces. There are 3 more developments in the pipeline, including the 46 Burley Street application. These would bring the total number of bed spaces to 4,829.[8] According to a Unipol report,[9] by 2012, students comprised 75% of the population of Little Woodhouse.[10] Core Strategy Policy H6(B)(iii)[11] states, "Development proposals for purpose built student accommodation will be controlled: To avoid excessive concentrations of student accommodation (in a single development or in combination with existing accommodation) which would undermine the balance and wellbeing of communities.”
  3. At the meeting of the city centre plans panel on 28 July 2016, the chief planning officer Tim Hill said it would be very hard for councillors to object to application 16/01322/FU on the principle of student accommodation, as they hadn't rejected application 14/03735/FU on that ground.[2] What Mr Hill said failed to take into account that since rejecting application 14/03735/FU on 12 February 2015, the planning department had given approval for two additional student blocks to be built in and adjacent to Little Woodhouse. Planning application 13/04862/FU (Briggs House) for 320 student bed spaces in Little Woodhouse was approved on 6 March 2015. Planning application 15/06844/OT (City Reach) for 234 student bed spaces adjacent to Little Woodhouse was approved on 14 July 2016. These were material changes since 12 February 2015 which should have been taken into account in relation to whether or not student accommodation was appropriate at 46 Burley Street.
2. Is it right to have a building this high at 46 Burley Street?
  1. On 3 November 2011, the planning department registered a pre-application[12] for a proposal for 100 student cluster flats at 46 Burley Street. The architect's brochure[13] proposed a building that would have been 7 to 8 storeys facing Burley Street and 4 to 5 storeys facing Park Lane. In an email[14] to Acanthus Architects dated 7 November 2011, planning officer Andrew Windress said, "The scale of the eastern block should reflect the adjacent building to the east. The scale of the three blocks should then reduce further west to a height that more closely relates to the much lower substation, perhaps another storey or two may need to be taken off the central and western wings (subject to further studies and more detailed consideration)." If one or two storeys had been removed from the middle and western blocks of the proposed 46 Burley Street development, these blocks would have presented either 2 or 3 storeys to Park Lane, and not the 4 storeys intended by the developer.
  2. An email dated 3 August 2012[15] from Simon Grundy of Indigo Planning to Andrew Windress referred to a proposed block that would be 9 storeys adjacent to the former sorting office, stepping down to 5 storeys adjacent to the electricity sub-station. A subsequent email[16] dated 7 August 2012 from Andrew Windress to Simon Grundy stated, "The eastern wing should be within one storey of the adjacent building" and "The west wing should reflect the Sentinel building opposite and be no more than 5 storeys." This would mean that the west wing would be 3 storeys facing Park Lane. On 17 September 2012, Andrew Windess sent Simon Grundy an email[17] which contained the following paragraph, "I must also point out that Phil Crabtree and other(s) had significant concerns regarding the scale of the proposed scheme outlined in the isometric sketches submitted to date and sought the removal of multiple floors." Phil Crabtree retired as chief planning officer in January 2015[18] and was replaced by the current chief planning officer Tim Hill. Phil Crabtree's retirement on 29 January 2015 may explain why the officer's report[1] to plans panel which considered application 14/03735/FU on 12 February 2015, failed to recommend rejection of the proposal on the ground of excessive height.
  3. On 18 December 2012, Simon Grundy submitted a formal request[19] for pre-application advice for a development that would provide 134 student bed spaces. This stated on page 2 of the request, "We understand from recent discussions with the City Development Department that the principle of re-development for residential use in general and student housing specifically are considered acceptable." On 1 February 2013, Andrew Windress sent Simon Grundy an email[20] which contained this paragraph,"The form of the proposed building is generally supported but the scale is still too high. My email of 7/8/12 identified an appropriate scale and I would refer you back to this email. There may be some scope to set some of the floors back along Park Lane and to the west to reduce the prominence and help overcome some of the concerns regarding scale."
  4. On 18 October 2013, planning officer Chris Briggs sent an email[21] to Hannah Smith of Indigo Planning in which he said, "In terms of design comments, I think it would be worth meeting with the architect and Mark Burgess (Design Team Leader) so we can give informal support to urban design. I’ve discussed Mark’s earlier comments on the scheme (including his notes of your pre-app meeting with him), and from looking at the previous scheme and the current one, it doesn’t appear that his comments have been fully taken on board." Chris Briggs then summarised Mark Burgess's notes and his summary included this note "Storey heights – 2 full storeys should be removed from the lower ‘L-shape’ element, across the building whole it is considered the set-back device is not appropriate." I assume the words "building" and "whole" have been transposed. So perhaps the note should have read, "Storey heights – 2 full storeys should be removed from the lower ‘L-shape’ element, across the whole building it is considered the set-back device is not appropriate."
  5. There is then a two year gap in the email record between 18 October 2013 and 12 October 2015. This means we have no explanation for why the planning department (a) failed to recommend refusal of planning application 14/03735/FU on the grounds of excessive height and the principle of student occupation, even though Indigo Planning had ignored their request to remove 2 storeys from the lower section of the proposed development and did not address Core Strategy Policy H6(B)(iii) in the planning statement[22] which accompanied planning application 14/03735/FU, and (b) recommended approval of planning application 16/01322/FU even though not only had the developer failed to remove 2 storeys from the western side of the proposed block, but had actually added an additional storey to it, making a total of 5 storeys facing Park Lane at both ends of the building, and again failed to address Core Strategy Policy H6(B)(iii) in the planning statement[23] which accompanied planning application 16/01322/FU. When I asked to see copies of the missing email exchanges, I was informed that they do not exist.[24]
  6. At paragraph 12 of his Appeal Decision,[25] dated 1 August 2007, to dismiss an appeal against the council’s refusal to grant planning permission for a student tower block on the former RSPCA site on nearby Cavendish Street (06/02379/RM) planning inspector Mr J D S Gillis said, “I consider that the scale of development in the area as a whole needs very careful consideration to ensure that the design, mass and density of future developments avoid the shortcomings apparent in some of the existing development. I consider that insufficient attention has been given in the area generally to the impact of the close proximity of tall buildings to a street pattern originally designed for more domestic scale buildings.” At paragraph 13 of the Appeal Decision,[25] Mr Gillis said, "While it is argued that the proposed development follows council guidance, I do not consider that such guidance intends that all future developments should attain the maximum heights indicated.”
  7. At the meeting of the city centre plans panel on 8 December 2016, councillors were given a presentation which included an artist's impression of what the view down Belle Vue Road would look like if the proposed development goes ahead. The artist's impression was a panoramic view showing the proposed development on the right, and the two storey terraced houses on Kendal Walk on the left. Incredibly, the development was shown as being no higher than the terraced housing, even though numerous earlier images supplied by the developer had shown that the development would indeed be higher that the terrace houses.[26] Curiously, this panoramic image was never posted on the council's web page containing documents relating to the application, even though every other artist's impression was posted on this web page. The artist's impressions all appear to have been based on guesswork. No evidence was ever supplied that the heights shown reflected heights above sea level. In 2004, planning officers promised that the proposed Concept House student block further up Belle Vue Road, would be only 2 to 3 metres higher than the terraced houses on Kendal Walk (see page 7 of the planning officer's report[27]). The reality is that the building is at least 2 or 2 storeys higher than the terraced houses on Kendal Walk. A storey is usually about 8 metres.
3. Is it right to have a building of this bulk at 46 Burley Street?
The developer submitted floor plans with each of his planning applications and amended planning applications. Each set of floor plans gave the area of each of the floors of each application and amended application.
  1. The floor plans[28] for application 14/03735/FU show a total floor space of 4,296.3m2. This application was rejected at the 12 February 2015 city centre plans panel meeting because of its "excessive bulk."
  2. The floor plans[29] for the version of application 16/01322/FU that was considered at the 28 July 2016 city centre plans panel meeting show a total floor space of 4,171.5m2. This was just 2.9% smaller than the application rejected on 12 February 2015 because of its "excessive bulk." Councillors considered the proposal to be still too bulky and deferred making a decision to allow the developer to amend the application.
  3. The floor plans[30] for the version of application 16/01322/FU that was considered at the 8 September plans panel meeting show a total floor space of 4,184.0m2. This was 2.6% smaller than the application rejected on 12 February 2015 because of its "excessive bulk." Councillors considered the proposal to be still too bulky and deferred making a decision to allow a "workshop" to be arranged between councillors, planning officers and the developer.
  4. The floor plans[31] for the version of application 16/01322/FU that was considered at the 8 December plans panel meeting show a total floor space of 4,186.0m2. This was just 2.6% smaller than the application rejected on 12 February 2015 because of its "excessive bulk" and no smaller than the versions of application 16/01322/FU considered on 28 July 2016 and 8 September 2016. And yet councillors approved this version of the application.

This chart[32] provides easy to understand comparisons.

The Draft Site Allocations Plan[33] states on page 11[34] that 46 Burley Street has capacity for 48 units. And yet the proposed development is for 87 units, almost twice as many. Paragraph 9.7.1[35] on page 15 of the officer’s report[36] dated 28 July 2016 dismisses the Site Allocations Plan figure of 48 units by saying, "The site allocations makes provision for 48 units on this site which is an estimate based on a formula and is not prescriptive of the actual number that should be achieved.” Paragraph 9.7.1 also states, "The site lies within the designated City Centre, where under the Core Strategy housing development is required to be built at a density of at least 65 dwellings per hectare” and "In practice the nature of flatted accommodation in the City Centre has often resulted in residential densities significantly in excess of 65 dwellings per hectare." The clear implication of paragraph 9.7.1 is that the number of units proposed for 46 Burley Street is based on a prescription contained in the Core Strategy, rather than the formula used by the Draft Site Allocations Plan, which officers claim is not prescriptive. This is a further example of planning officers' use of misleading language. Paragraph 2.1[37] on page 2 of the officer’s report[36] dated 28 July 2016 states that the 46 Burley Street site covers approximately 0.13 hectares. This means that to comply with the the Core Strategy’s requirement that city centre sites should exceed 65 units per hectare, there should be more than 8 units on the site (65 x 0.13 = 8.45). So the Core Strategy requirement would be met by having 9 units on the site. The proposed figure of 87 units is almost ten times the minimum prescribed by the Core Strategy. The purpose of paragraph 9.7.1 appears to have been to dismiss the importance of the figure of 48 units. It does this by stating that the formula used was not prescriptive, and implying that the figure of 48 units does not meet the requirement of the Core Strategy, whereas the figure of 87 units does. In fact, both figures would meet the Core Strategy requirement, as would a figure of 9 units. But this was not made clear.

Whilst it’s true that 46 Burley Street is inside the designated city centre, it is only just inside the boundary, and is on the other side of the road from 2 storey terraced houses which are not in the designated city centre.

4. Is it right to allow a building at 46 Burley Street to block strategic views from Belle Vue Road and Kendal Walk?
  1. Page 44[38] of the council’s planning guidance “Neighbourhoods for Living”[39] states, "It is equally important to avoid development obscuring important views, whether to, from or through the site." Paragraph 2.4.1[40] on page 4 of the Kirkstall Road Renaissance Area Planning Framework[4] states, "As the area lies on the valley floor, there are a number of long distance views to and through the area from neighbouring higher ground - in particular, from public spaces in the residential area to the north (e.g. Belle Vue Road)." The Framework identifies some of these views.[41] Views that would be blocked are from Belle Vue Road and Kendal Walk across to (a) Holbeck; (b) the fairground on Elland Road; (c) Armley Jail, a grade 2 listed building, and; (d) St Bartholemew's Church, a grade 2 listed building. Belle Vue Road is named after Belle Vue House, a nearby Georgian villa, which gets its name from beautiful long distance views across the Aire Valley.
  2. The Little Woodhouse Neighbourhood Design Statement[42] was adopted as a Supplementary Planning Document on 22 March 2011. At page 4[43] it states, "Little Woodhouse is a varied place with many special qualities: gently sloping land and a steep escarpment with often dramatic views.” It also states, "the views are being compromised by tall buildings north of Kirkstall Road.” On page 8 [44] it states, "These slopes create many vistas, with some dramatic views to the skylines of Kirkstall and Armley.” On page 11[45] it states that a response to the question "What do you like about Little Woodhouse?" was "Lovely views downhill.” On page 22,[46] the document identifies long distance views from the Kendals as a positive characteristic. On page 49,[47] in the section entitled “Guidance for Development,” point 3 states, "Views and vistas (see character analysis map). New development should both maintain the positive views in and out of the area and take advantage of them in its location, orientation and outlook.”
  3. Objectors to planning applications 14/03735/FU and 16/01322/FU raised concerns that the proposed development at 46 Burley Street would lead to loss of views from Belle Vue Road across the Aire valley. The same concern was expressed by Councillor Al Garthwaite at the plans panel meeting on 28 July 2016 (see pages 9 and 10[48] of the verbatim transcript[49] of the 28 July plans panel meeting). But her response was dismissed by planning officer Daljit Singh who stated that no one has a right to a view, and that whilst there are strategic views which should be preserved, the view in question hadn’t been assessed (see pages 9 and 10[48] of the verbatim transcript[49] of the 28 July plans panel meeting).
  4. Daljit Singh's opinion on the loss of views from Belle Vue Road that would result from the proposed development at 46 Burley Street, contrasts with the opinion expressed by planning officer Chris Briggs in a letter[50] (obtained under the Freedom of Information Act) which he sent to Simon Grundy of Indigo Planning on 17 November 2015. Mr Briggs said, "Whilst there is no right to a view, the gap that currently exists (and previously existed with a lower warehouse building) is considered to offer relief from the taller buildings to the south for residential properties to the north of the site." Paragraph 9.2.2[51] of the planning officer's report dated 28 July 2016[36] echoes the preceding paragraph. It states, "...whilst there is no right to a view, the gap that currently exists (and previously existed with a lower warehouse building) is considered to offer relief from the taller buildings to the south for residential properties to the north of the site on Kendal Walk. Officers have therefore negotiated with the applicant a revision to the proposed massing that’s seeks to better complement the existing built scale and character of the area by creating a ‘stepping effect’, which follows the topography of Park Lane from the east down to the west." But the view would still be lost.

Given all of the above, it is difficult to understand how the head of Development Management Steve Butler could state that no strategic view would be affected (see page 15[52] of the verbatim transcript[49] of the plans panel meeting of 28 July 2016). It is equally difficult to understand how planning officer Daljit Singh could state that no strategic view had been assessed (see pages 9 and 10[48] of the verbatim transcript[49] of the plans panel meeting of 28 July 2016). Also, planning officer Daljit Singh misled councillors when he told them, “in planning terms no one has a right to a view,” since the lack of a legal right to a view has nothing to do with the duty of planners to maintain strategic views. (see page 10[53] of the verbatim transcript[49] of the plans panel meeting of 28 July 2016).

5. Is it right that the proposed development would fail to"step down the slope" from north east to south west?
Page 42[54] of "Neighbourhoods for Living"[39] sets out the principle of “Stepping Down the Slope.” This is the principle that buildings lower down a hillside, should not tower over buildings higher up the hillside.

The application site is on a hillside which slopes gently from south east to north west and steeply from north east to south west. There were objections to the application on the ground that the proposed development would not step down the slope. However, planning officers maintained that the development would step down the slope. Paragraph 9.2.4[51] of the planning officer's report[36] to plans panel dated 28 July 2016 states, ". . .the stepping down of buildings heights would be in line with the topography of the area." On page 3[55] of the verbatim transcript[56] of the 8 December 2016 city centre plans panel meeting, planning officer Chris Briggs is shown as having stated, "And in previous key views that we’ve identified in the past relating to the sorting office along Park Lane stepping down clearly as the topography changes. . ."

But the stepping down that planning officers referred to was only from south east to north west. This enabled them to use the height of an adjacent former sorting office as the starting point in terms of the height of the proposed building. Officers ignored the fact that there was no stepping down from north east to south west. If there had been stepping down from north east to south west, the proposed development would have had to have been lower than the height of terraced houses on Kendal Walk. Planning officers were applying the principle of stepping down the slope, but applying it selectively. This indicates that they recognised that stepping down the slope is an important issue.

At the plans panel meeting on 28 July 2016, Councillor David Blackburn said, "I must say I have sympathy with what Mr Hellawell said about this building. I mean, quite clearly, from the one we turned down, on one side, it’s got higher, and it’s less stepped. And I’m sure if it was stepped, part of the things about the vistas and that, would be dealt with. It also would not look as bulky as that. So I just think it’s still too excessive." (see page 11[57] of the transcript[49] of the plans panel meeting of 28 Jul 2016). The officer's notes[58] of the private workshop that took place on 1 November 2016 show that Councillor Latty said that the building should step down not from east to west, but from north to south. What he meant when he said "north to south" was actually "north east to south west." (see the top of the second page of the notes[58] of the private workshop which took place on 1 November 2016) .

Planning officers also tried to suggest that the principle of stepping down the slope refers to a building's own roofline rather than how a building's height fits in with neighbouring buildings on a slope. Page 4[59] of the verbatim transcript[49] of the 28 July city centre plans panel meeting shows planning officer Chris Briggs stating, "This view shows the proposal stepping down from the sorting office towards the west." Page 2[60] of the verbatim transcript[61] of the 8 September 2016 plans panel meeting shows Chris Briggs stating, "From this image you can see the stepping of the form down. . ." Paragraph 2.2[62] of the planning officer's report[63] to plans panel dated 8 December 2016 states, "At the upper level, at the western end of the Park Lane elevation, a flat has been relocated to create a larger set back, to emphasise the “stepping down” at that end of the building." Page 2[55] of the verbatim transcript[56] of the 8 December city centre plans panel meeting shows planning officer Chris Briggs as having stated:

"This is the refused scheme with what the inspector termed the blade element here standing proud of the sorting office, at 9 storeys stepping down to 4. In September, we saw these images here, with a lower form than the sorting office, stepping down. And then, this is the current scheme, noting the parapet height slightly lower, again stepping down. So we can see that reduction in height sitting better in the surrounding built form of the area. This slide shows the scheme in relation to that built form in a bit closer detail. This from Belle Vue Road looking down the housing at Kendal Walk here, Oak House office building, the sorting office, just showing in a bit closer detail how the form steps down to 5 storeys at the eastern end of the building, and down again at the western end. And a bird’s-eye view which just shows that in a bit closer definition of how the stepping form of the roof changes."

Page 3[55] of the verbatim transcript[56] of the 8 December 2016 city centre plans panel meeting shows planning officer Chris Briggs as having stated:

"This is the revised proposal, again showing the articulation and form around the top of the building particularly, and along the back breaking up what was a long run of red brick, especially when combined in view with the sorting office. That’s now broken up with the vertical emphasis in the zinc cladding and stepping down. A flat has been re- positioned here which creates a larger step at the western end. That’s another view from September. And then again, the view changed with the revised details showing how that clearer, larger step down at the western end bringing the building form down with the topography. And finally, this slide shows one of the views that members picked up on on the site visit. From the blank gable of the houses accessed off Hanover Avenue. The existing view as shown in those images, and with the building shown in, noting the stepping down in built form of the proposal."

This "stepping down in built form of the proposal" was achieved by re-locating a small section from level 7 (the top floor) at the north west corner of the building facing towards Park Lane, to a position on top of level 7 at the opposite end of the building. This created an additional storey making the maximum height of the proposed building, 8 storeys. But on 18 October 2013, planning officer Chris Briggs had sent an email[21] to Hannah Smith of Indigo Planning in which he said, "In terms of design comments, I think it would be worth meeting with the architect and Mark Burgess (Design Team Leader) so we can give informal support to urban design. I’ve discussed Mark’s earlier comments on the scheme (including his notes of your pre-app meeting with him), and from looking at the previous scheme and the current one, it doesn’t appear that his comments have been fully taken on board." Chris Briggs then summarised Mark Burgess's notes and his summary included this note, "Storey heights – 2 full storeys should be removed from the lower ‘L-shape’ element, across the whole building it is considered the set-back device is not appropriate." But three years later, just such a set-back device was used to create the illusion of a stepping down in built form. If 2 full storeys had been removed from the lower element of application 14/03735/FU, the lower element would have presented 2 storeys to Park Lane. The lower element of application 16/01322/FU which was approved by the city centre plans panel on 8 December 2016, would present 5 storeys to Park Lane.

6. Is it right to have a picking up/dropping off point for students on Park Lane?
  1. Planning application 20/447/03/FU was submitted in December 2003 to build a student block which would later be known as Concept Place. Paragraph 4.1.4[64] of the planning officer's report[65] stated, "The vehicular and pedestrian entrances to the building, as well as the commercial uses, are all on its southern elevation, on the opposite side of the building to the existing residential uses. This will focus any noise associated with arrivals/departures to this side of the building." So when the subsequent planning application 20/387/05/FU was presented to the city centre plans panel on 8 December 2005, the proposed building similarly provided no access to the property from Belle Vue Road.
  2. Paragraph 6.2 on page 4[66] of the planning officer's report[1] to plans panel on 12 February 2015 regarding planning application 14/03735/FU noted that objectors had concerns about taxis using Park Lane as a picking up and dropping off point. However, the report did not address these concerns.
  3. A similar concern was not noted at paragraph 5.6[67] of the officer's report[36] to plans panel on 28 July 2016 regarding planning application 16/01322, even though this concern was expressed at paragraph 5 of my objection[68] to planning application 16/01322/FU.

Given that the possibility of Belle Vue Road being used as a picking-up and dropping-off point by taxis was a concern to the planning officer who wrote the report dated 19 February 2004 recommending approval of planning application 20/447/03/FU, and given that the 46 Burley Street site is just a short distance down the road from the Concept Place site, it seems both inconsistent and unfair that the planning officers who dealt with planning applications 14/03735/FU and 16/01322/FU should have completely disregarded the nuisance to existing residents that would be caused by Park Lane being used as a dropping off point for taxis.

7. Was there adequate site advertising?
At the meeting of the city centre plans panel on 28 July 2016, the developer’s agent, Simon Grundy made much of the fact that only two local residents had objected to the scheme, and claimed this must mean that other local people supported it.[69] After the meeting was over, I walked all around the edge of the site and along the roads that pass the site. I was unable to find any of the yellow planning application notices that the council is required to attach to lamp posts and fences in the area adjacent to sites which are the subject of a planning application. When the application was amended prior to the 8 September 2016 and the 8 December 2016 plans panel meetings, no yellow notices were posted advertising the fact.
8. Was the run-up to the plans panel on 8 September 2016 handled correctly?
At the meeting of the plans panel on 28 July 2016, the official minutes[70] show that councillors resolved, "That determination of the application be deferred to allow the applicant time to address the comments made by Members in respect of the building design, the massing and bulk of the proposal and further details about external finishing / materials was required." The planning officer's report[36] recommending that the revised application be approved, was published on Leeds City Council's website on 31 August 2016. The date on the report's front page was 8 September 2016 which meant that the revised application would be decided by the plans panel when it met on 8 September 2016. Even though the planning department was recommending that the application be approved, it still hadn't received details of the revised application. The planning department received these details on 7 September 2016 and published them on the council website at about 4pm that afternoon.[71] This was less than 24 hours before the plans panel was due to decide the application. How could the planning department recommend approval in advance of seeing the paperwork? And how could councillors or anyone else properly consider the application in less than 24 hours?
9. Was it proper to have a private workshop for the developer, councillors and planning officers on 1 November 2016?
It seems to me to be wrong for councillors to meet with developers. But national guidance encourages pre-application meetings. Some of this guidance even seems to suggest that it is acceptable for councillors to meet with developers after an application has been submitted. The question is, what is the distinction between a meeting that takes place before an application is submitted, and one that takes place after? In other words, why does such a meeting suddenly become wrong, after the submission of a planning application?

The Local Government Association's document "Positive Engagement - a guide for planning councillors"[72] states:

"Be prepared to hold discussions with an applicant before a planning application is made, not just after it has been submitted to your authority."

This seems to suggest that it was alright for the workshop to take place.

Leeds City Council's draft guidance[73] (which wasn't adopted) on pre-application presentations states:

"Subject to the provisions laid out in the Code of Practice for the Determination of Planning Matters (3), Members will give an informal response to the presentation but will not give advice that indicates a pre-judging of the proposals."
"Questions to clarify aspects of a proposal or policy concerns are legitimate, but must not develop into negotiations. Any comments made will be without prejudice to the right of the individual Member and the Plans Panel to determine any subsequent application as they see fit. Members will only make their decision on the application after having received the officer’s report and heard all the relevant evidence, arguments and views at the full meeting of the Plans Panel."

Leeds City Council's "Protocol for pre-application presentations at the Plans Panels."[74]

Report of the chief planning officer on "Pre-application presentations to the Plans Panels"[75]

Leeds City Council's guide to plans panels[76]

The Local Government Association's "Probity in Planning."[77]

The Local Government Association's "Engaging councillors and communities in pre-application discussions"[78]

Planning Act 2008: Guidance on the pre-application process[79]

10. If it was proper to have a private workshop, was it properly conducted?
If the council was treating the workshop as a pre-application meeting, then according to its own guidelines,[80] local representatives should have been invited to attend, and a full note should have been made of what was said at the meeting. But neither of these requirements was met.

Planning officer Chris Briggs said in his email[81] to me of 9 December 2016, "Councillors made it clear at the meeting that they would not be making decisions at the workshop…” But the transcript[56] of the plans panel meeting that took place on 8 December 2016 shows that with regards to the colour of the proposed building, Councillor Tom Leadley said, "I don’t think that’s really what we decided at the workshop.” And the transcript shows that Councillor Colin Campbell said with regards to colour, "I think that more reflects what I thought we'd agreed." The transcript[56] also shows that Councillor Colin Campbell said, " I thought we’d decided though that it was better, rather than put the trees in brick planters, we would actually have them at ground level so that the rainwater could run down and actually water them." The transcripts of the plans panel meetings of the 28 July 2016[49] and 8 September 2016[61] show that this issue was not discussed at either of those meetings. Therefore, it can only have been discussed at the workshop. And if it was discussed at the workshop, it should have been mentioned in the officer’s notes[58] on what was discussed at the workshop. But there is no mention of this issue in the officer’s notes. This raises the question as to what else has been left out of the officer’s notes.

It would seem from the above that elements of the application, or all of it, were agreed at the workshop. The fact that there was no discussion of the application by councillors on 8 December 2016, other than the comments mentioned above by Councillors Leadley and Campbell, suggests that everything was agreed at the workshop. This is supported by the fact that councillors chatted during Chris Briggs's presentation, instead of listening to him. The transcript[56] shows that Councillor Stuart McKenna even complained at the 8 December 2016 plans panel meeting, during Chris Briggs's presentation, that he couldn’t hear a word that Chris Briggs was saying because of all the councillors talking. He said, "There’s so many people talking in room, I can’t hear anything he’s saying." When I checked the workshop notes,[58] I discovered that Councillor Stuart McKenna had not been present at the workshop, so unlike the other councillors, he may have been interested to hear what was being proposed. I assume the other councillors weren’t listening to Chris Briggs's because he was not telling them anything new, because everything had already been decided, and they were just waiting for the vote.

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Location

46 Burley Street is located in the Little Woodhouse area of Leeds between Park Lane and Burley Street at the bottom of Belle Vue Road. This map[82] is larger than the one above. It shows 46 Burley Street shaded in pink, and the terraced housing on Kendal Walk to the north shared in blue. This aerial photo[83] shows 46 Burley Street in relation to the 2 storey terraced houses on Kendal Walk to the north, and nearby student blocks. For many years, the 46 Burley Street site was occupied by a furniture depository[84] which had 2 storeys fronting onto Burley Street and 1 storey fronting onto Park Lane. In 2013, the depository was demolished (without planning permission).[85] Since then, the site has remained empty.

Planning History

Timetable of events from the start of the attempts to build a student block at 46 Burley Street
1 September 2005 RMP Properties submitted planning application 20/419/05/FU[86] for a 14 storey student block at 46 Burley Street that would have housed 304 students in 55 cluster flats and had five car parking spaces. The application was accompanied by a letter to the planning department which stated that if the proposal was accepted, it would relieve pressure (from students) in other “more sensitive” areas of Leeds. I telephoned planning officer Chris Briggs on 11 October 2005.[87] He told me that he would only accept an 8 storey block. The application was withdrawn on 1 December 2005 before it could be refused.
1 December 2008 A meeting of the Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment Partnership[88] (a group composed mainly of developers and council officers) decided that the 46 Burley Street site had capacity for 48 units and that redevelopment should be delayed until 2011/12 to allow for the expiration of a 5 year clawback period on government money used to improve the site’s frontage.
22 October 2010 Freda Matthews and Patrick Hall from Little Woodhouse Community Association met Alun Hayes and Sophie Taylor from property consultants Knight Frank to discuss a proposal for a student block of 170 units comprising cluster and studio flats.[89] The proposed block would have had 5 storeys fronting onto Park Lane[90] According to the developer’s agent Indigo Planning, at paragraph 1.9[91] on page 1 of their Planning Statement[23] dated February 2016, the proposed block would have been “generally 8 storeys." No planning application was submitted.
3 November 2011 to 18 October 2013
Page 6 of Acanthus Architects' October 2011 brochure[13] shows the building they proposed for 46 Burley Street. The western block is on the right.
This section was compiled using documents[92] obtained on 14 February 2017 via the Freedom of Information Act.

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On 3 November 2011, the planning department registered a pre-application[12] for a proposal for 100 student cluster flats at 46 Burley Street. The developer was the site's then and current owner, Burley Place Limited. The agent was Gregor Small, the director of Acanthus Architects of Aberdeenshire. The council's planning officer was Andrew Windress. The architect's brochure[13] proposed a building that would have been 7 to 8 storeys facing Burley Street and 4 to 5 storeys facing Park Lane. What the architects were proposing suggests that there is a 3 storey difference between the levels of Burley Street and Park Lane, when the difference is actually 2 storeys. In an email[14] to Gregor Small dated 7 November 2011, planning officer Andrew Windress said, "The scale of the eastern block should reflect the adjacent building to the east. The scale of the three blocks should then reduce further west to a height that more closely relates to the much lower substation, perhaps another storey or two may need to be taken off the central and western wings (subject to further studies and more detailed consideration)." The building to the east is the former sorting office, which is 3 storeys facing Park Lane and 4 storeys facing Burley Street. Given that the floors inside the sorting office have very high ceilings, and given that the former sorting office is higher than the 5 storey Oak House on the other side of Park Lane, it seems likely that each storey of the former sorting office represents two residential storeys. If one or two storeys had been removed from the middle and western blocks of the proposed 46 Burley Street development, these blocks would have presented either 2 or 3 storeys to Park Lane, and not the 4 storeys intended by the developer. The developer Burley Place Limited probably did not want to accept the modifications proposed by the council and may have felt that its agent Acanthus Architects was not being tough enough in its negotiations with the council as email correspondence from August 2013 shows that by then Burley Place Limited had changed agents and architects and now had Simon Grundy of Indigo Planning and Christian Sanders of architects West and Machell to represent them. Simon Grundy is a local planning consultant who had already successfully obtained planning permission to build a student block on the former glassworks site on Cardigan Road. An email dated 3 August 2012[15] from Simon Grundy to Andrew Windress refers to a discussion between them about a proposal for a block that would be 9 storeys adjacent to the former sorting office, stepping down to 5 storeys adjacent to the electricity sub-station. Whether this meant 5 storeys facing Park Lane or Burley Street wasn't made clear in the email, but was made clear in a subsequent email[16] dated 7 August 2012 that Andrew Windress sent to Simon Grundy. This stated, "The eastern wing should be within one storey of the adjacent building" and "The west wing should reflect the Sentinel building opposite and be no more than 5 storeys." This would mean that the west wing would be 3 storeys facing Park Lane. On 17 September 2012, Andrew Windess sent Simon Grundy an email[17] which contained the following paragraph, "I must also point out that Phil Crabtree and other(s) had significant concerns regarding the scale of the proposed scheme outlined in the isometric sketches submitted to date and sought the removal of multiple floors." Phil Crabtree retired as chief planning officer in January 2015[18] and was replaced by the current chief planning officer Tim Hill. Phil Crabtree's retirement on 29 January 2015 may explain why the officer's report[1] to plans panel which considered application 14/03735/FU on 12 February 2015, failed to recommend rejection of the proposal on the ground of excessive height. On 18 December 2012, Simon Grundy submitted a formal request[19] for pre-application advice for a development that would provide 134 student bed spaces. This stated on page 2 of the request, "We understand from recent discussions with the City Development Department that the principle of re-development for residential use in general and student housing specifically are considered acceptable." On 1 February 2013, Andrew Windress sent Simon Grundy an email[20] which contained this paragraph,"The form of the proposed building is generally supported but the scale is still too high. My email of 7/8/12 identified an appropriate scale and I would refer you back to this email. There may be some scope to set some of the floors back along Park Lane and to the west to reduce the prominence and help overcome some of the concerns regarding scale." An email[93] dated 8 May 2013 from Andrew Windress to Simon Grundy revealed that planning officer Chris Briggs would be taking over from Andrew Windress as the planning officer with responsibility for the 46 Burley Street site. On 18 October 2013, planning officer Chris Briggs sent an email[21] to Hannah Smith of Indigo Planning in which he said, "In terms of design comments, I think it would be worth meeting with the architect and Mark Burgess (Design Team Leader) so we can give informal support to urban design. I’ve discussed Mark’s earlier comments on the scheme (including his notes of your pre-app meeting with him), and from looking at the previous scheme and the current one, it doesn’t appear that his comments have been fully taken on board." Chris Briggs then summarised Mark Burgess's notes and his summary included this note "Storey heights – 2 full storeys should be removed from the lower ‘L-shape’ element, across the building whole it is considered the set-back device is not appropriate." I assume the words "building" and "whole" have been transposed. So perhaps the note should have read, "Storey heights – 2 full storeys should be removed from the lower ‘L-shape’ element, across the whole building it is considered the set-back device is not appropriate." Chris Briggs also said, "Acknowledging Daljit’s discussion with Simon when we met with him on 27 September 2013, please note the Council’s emerging policy position regarding student housing. Notwithstanding the objections to the proposed changes to Policy H6 of the draft Core Strategy, the policy, incorporating the changes to it, was agreed by the Council’s Executive Board on 4th September and is a material planning consideration. Consequently,as others have already done so in recent applications, the requirements of Policy H6B (as amended) need to be addressed by the application." Apart from an email to Chris Briggs from Richard Webster at the council's Transport Development Services, also sent on 18 October 2013, there were no further emails in the bundle[92] sent to me in response to my Freedom of Information request, until one sent from Chris Briggs to Simon Grundy on 12 October 2015, which was after the appeal against refusal of planning permission for application 14/03735/FU had been dismissed. So there is a two year gap in the email record between 18 October 2013 and 12 October 2015. This means we have no explanation for why the planning department (a) failed to recommend refusal of planning application 14/03735/FU on the grounds of excessive height and the principle of student occupation, even though Indigo Planning had ignored their request to remove 2 storeys from the lower section of the proposed development and did not address Core Strategy Policy H6(B)(iii) in the planning statement[22] which accompanied planning application 14/03735/FU, and (b) recommended approval of planning application 16/01322/FU even though not only had the developer failed to remove 2 storeys from the western side of the proposed block, but had actually added an additional storey to it, making a total of 5 storeys facing Park Lane at both ends of the building, and again failed to address Core Strategy Policy H6(B)(iii) in the planning statement[23] which accompanied planning application 16/01322/FU.

24 June 2014
The original version of planning application 14/03735/FU submitted in June 2014.

Planning application 14/03735/FU was submitted by Indigo Planning on behalf of the developer, Burley Place Limited. It was for a student block that would have provided 128 studio flats and had 9 and 7 storeys facing Burley Street, and 7 and 5 storeys facing Park Lane. Here is a link[94] to the Leeds City Council web page containing all the documents relating to the application, apart from comments submitted by objectors, which have been removed by the council. In October 2014 the application was amended. The revised application was for a student block that would have provided 113 studio flats and had 9 and 6 storeys facing Burley Street, and 7 and 4 storeys facing Park Lane. (see Indigo Planning’s letter to planning officer Chris Briggs dated 17 October 2014).[95]

12 February 2015
The amended version of 14/03735/FU rejected by the plans panel on 12 February 2015 due to its excessive scale and inadequate room size.

Planning application 14/03735/FU was considered by the city centre plans panel at Leeds Civic Hall on 12 February 2015. A report[1] was presented to the panel by planning officer Chris Briggs. The report recommended rejection of the application on the ground of inadequate room size. Here are my notes[3] of what was said at the meeting. Here are the official minutes[96] of the meeting. Officers were delegated to formally draft the reasons for refusal. A Decision Notice[97] was issued on 16 February 2015. It gave as the reasons for refusal, “1. The proposed development due to its design, nature and limited accommodation type would provide inadequate amenities for the future residents of the site and would fail to meet sustainable long term housing needs, contrary to Policies CC1, H4, P10, and H6B of the Leeds Core Strategy, Saved Policies GP5 and BD5 of the Leeds Unitary Development Plan Review 2006, Supplementary Planning Guidance Neighbourhoods for Living, and the National Planning Policy Framework. 2. The application proposal would result in an over intensive development, out of character with the urban grain of the immediate surrounding area by reason of the dominating effects of its excessive height and bulk. The application is therefore contrary to Leeds Core Strategy Policy SP1 (iii) and P10, Leeds UDPR Saved Policies GP5 and BD2, and Little Woodhouse Neighbourhood Design Statement SPD, Neighbourhoods for Living SPG, and the National Planning Policy Framework." On 27 February 2015 the applicant appealed against the decision (Appeal reference APP/N4720/W/15/3005747).

22 July 2015 The appeal was heard at Leeds Civic Hall on 22 July 2015. It was dismissed on 10 September 2015. The first reason for dismissal set out at paragraph 37 of the Appeal Decision[98] was, "The design of the blade would adversely affect the character and appearance of the locality, and the development would fail to provide a satisfactory standard of comfortable living conditions for future occupiers.” The blade was the 9 storey element of the proposed building. The second reason for dismissal set out at paragraph 38 of the Appeal Decision was, "The Framework states that good design is a key aspect of sustainable development and that planning should always seek a high quality of design and a good standard of amenity for existing and future occupants of land. Consequently I conclude that the proposal does not amount to sustainable development and that the harms I have identified outweigh the factors in favour of the scheme."
September 2015 Leeds City Council published its Draft Site Allocations Plan [33] which states on page 11[34] that 46 Burley Street has capacity for 48 units. This is the same number of units decided by the Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment Partnership in 2008.[88] And yet the proposed development is for 87 units, almost twice as many.
29 February 2016
The original version of planning application 16/01322/FU. Overall, It was just 2.9% less bulky than the previous application rejected on 12 February 2015 on account of its bulk

Planning application 16/01322/FU was submitted by Indigo Planning on behalf of the developer, Burley Place Limited. It resembled the previous application except that the blade had been removed, and the overall height of the remainder of the building had been increased by one storey to compensate for the removal of the blade. Overall, the proposed building would have been just 2.9% less bulky than the previous application rejected on 12 February 2015 on account of its bulk. The proposed building would have provided 87 studio flats and have 7 storeys facing Burley Street and 5 storeys facing Park Lane. Here is a link[99] to the council web page containing all the documents relating to the application, except for certain artists' impressions that were shown to the plans panel on 8 December 2016. The application was amended in May 2016. The amendment transferred a small section from level 7 (the top floor) at the north west corner of the building facing towards Park Lane, to a position on top of level 7 at the opposite end of the building. This created an additional storey making the overall height of the proposed building, 8 storeys. Transferring a section of the seventh floor and transferring it to the opposite end of a new eighth floor, may have been done to give the impression that the proposed building would slope down the hill from the south-east to the north-west.

28 July 2016
The amended version of 16/01322/FU considered by the panel on 28 July 2016. It was the same size as the original version. Councillors expressed concern about its appearance and scale.

An amended version of planning application 16/01322/FU was considered by the city centre plans panel at Leeds Civic Hall on 28 July 2016. A report[36] was presented to the panel by planning officer Chris Briggs. The report recommended approval of the application. Included in the report’s conclusion at paragraph 11.1[100] was this statement, "The principle of the development of the site for use as student accommodation and a retail unit is acceptable in accordance with the Development Plan…” Councillors expressed concern that the building was too high, too bulky, too bland, and that it would result in loss of long distance views. When Councillor Peter Gruen (Labour, Crossgates and Whinmoor) expressed concern about the impact of another student development in the area, the Chief Planning Officer Tim Hill said that councillors hadn’t refused the previous application (in February 2015) on the basis that it was student accommodation, and because of this, it would be difficult for the council to decide it was concerned about the principle now.[2] Councillor Colin Campbell (Lib Dem, Otley) said that they shouldn’t demonise students and that he didn’t have a problem with the principle of student accommodation on this site. At this point, Neil Walshaw (Labour, Headingley) said he seconded what Councillor Campbell had said. Because Councillor Walshaw wasn’t speaking into a microphone, the recordings didn’t pick this up. The Head of Development Management, Steve Butler, suggested a decision be deferred, "for further consideration of the external elevational treatment to this building." In summing up, the chairman, Councillor James McKenna (Labour, Armley) said, "So we’re looking really at the bulkiness of the design and I guess there’s some other issues that perhaps we might have to explore again.” The panel then voted "to defer for a cycle or two for some improvements in design on those issues that were stated.” The official minutes[70] of the meeting stated at paragraph 32 that the panel resolved, "That determination of the application be deferred to allow the applicant time to address the comments made by Members in respect of the building design, the massing and bulk of the proposal and further details about external finishing / materials was required." Here is a verbatim transcript[49] of what was said at the meeting. It was compiled by me using my recording of the meeting and Leeds City’s Council’s recording of the meeting.

8 September 2016
The further amended version of 16/01322/FU considered by the panel on 8 September 2016. It was the same size as earlier versions and to the untrained eye, appeared identical to the previous version. Panel members were annoyed that their previously expressed concerns about appearance and scale had been ignored.

A further amended version of planning application 16/01322/FU was considered again by the city centre plans panel at Leeds Civic Hall on 8 September 2016. A report[101] by planning officer Chris Briggs recommended approval of the application. The report was published on 31 August 2016, exactly eight days before the plans pane meetingl, in accordance with standard planning department practice. However, the revised plans were not received by planning officer Chris Briggs and uploaded to the Leeds City Council website until 7 September, the day before the plans panel. My neighbour Richard Hellawell complained about this on the afternoon of 7 September 2016,[102] and received an apology from planning officer Chris Briggs, who explained that the relevant documents had only been received that morning from the developer. The proposed development was the same size as the one that had been considered by the plans panel on 28 July 2016, and deferred on the grounds of its massing and bulk. In addition, it was almost identical in appearance. My neighbour Richard Hellawell and I gave two minute speeches asking for the proposal to be rejected on the ground it was no smaller that the proposal that had been considered at the meeting that took place on 28 July 2016. Following our speeches, the head of Development Management, Steve Butler, tried to convey that no concern about the height of the building had been minuted at the 28 July 2016 plans panel (see page 4 of the verbatim transcript).[61] At this point, my neighbour Richard Hellawell was allowed to respond to Mr Butler. Normally, objectors are only allowed to speak once at plans panel meetings. Mr Hellawell read out the resolution contained in the official minutes[70] of the 28 July 2016 meeting, which stated, "The determination of the application be deferred to allow the applicant time to address the comments made by Members in respect of the building design, the massing and bulk of the proposal and further details about external finishing / materials was required.” Speeches were then given on behalf of the developer by Matthew Stocks from Indigo Planning, and Christian Sanders, the architect from the firm West and Machell. Councillor Peter Gruen spoke and referred to paragraph 2.7 of the officers report[101] which said, "With regard to some Members’ comments concerning scale and massing in general…” Councillor Gruen said that this meant that councillors could still express concerns about scale and massing. Councillor Graham Latty said, "However the minutes read, there was a very strong feeling amongst panel members that this was too big a building, apart from anything else. It seems a shame that we convene a panel, we look at these things, we think about them, we talk about them, we have opinions, and it’s completely and utterly disregarded in terms of the size and massing of the building.” In response, the Chief Planning Officer, Tim Hill claimed that councillors hadn’t been clear at the 28 July 2016 plans panel meeting about what they wanted. Councillor Colin Campbell said, "Now we’ve two alternatives in my opinion. We either say, look, you’ve got the view from us that we really don’t like this building, we really have some concerns about the design, major concerns about the design, you’ve really got to tweak that design quite dramatically to get us to support it. And there is this issue about the sheer bulk of the flipping thing. Either you want to go away and have a couple of cycles, and see what you can come up with, and maybe if you want, come back and we’ll have a chat and we’ll have a workshop about it if you want, I don’t mind. Or, I’m quite happy to say, ‘It’s just not good enough, therefore I’ll propose we refuse it. Now that’s the choice we’ve got." Councillor Al Garthwaite said, "I agree with what’s been said and I also would like to see it lower, as well as other things." The panel voted for deferral and a workshop. The official minutes [70] of the meeting state that the panel expressed the following concerns, "(1) The purpose of the grass ramp to the side of the development – it was a retaining structure with no access. (2) Members appreciated that the sets at Rutland Mount were not to be removed and asked that the pavement in the area should be York Stone. (3) Members felt that the building was not ambitious for its location and did not enhance the area and they were disappointed by that and felt that some of the comments they had made previously had not been listened to. (4) Members still had concerns over the mass and design. (5) Members felt that the building needed better articulation. (6) Members also felt a lower development might be beneficial." The official minutes[70] also stated that the panel resolved, "That this Application be deferred and that a workshop be organised with Plans Panel to discuss the design issues in more detail." Here is a verbatim transcript[61] of what was said at the meeting. It was compiled by me using my recording of the meeting and Leeds City’s Council’s recording of the meeting.

1 November 2016 Leeds City Council’s Planning Department sent me a letter[103] by email on 14 November 2016 notifying me that application 16/01322/FU had been amended. The letter invited me to submit comments by 28 November 2016. I emailed planning officer Chris Briggs on 15 November 2016 to ask if the workshop had taken place. Chris Briggs replied by email[104] on 16 November 2016 to say that the workshop had taken place on 1 November 2016. On 9 December 2016, following the approval at plans panel the day before of application 16/01322/FU, I emailed Chris Briggs again and asked him for more details of what had taken place at the workshop, and to let me know why my neighbour Richard Hellawell and I had not been invited to attend. Mr Briggs replied the same day. He did not explain in his email[81] why my neighbour and I had not been invited to attend the workshop. Here is a subsequent email exchange[105] between myself and planning officer Daljit Singh. I received Mr Singh’s final email on 22 December 2016. Attached to it were the planning officer’s notes[58] from the workshop.
8 December 2016
The final version of 16/01322/FU approved on 8 December 2016. It is the same overall size as all previous versions of planning application 16/01322/FU.

The final version of planning application 16/01322/FU was considered again by the city centre plans panel at Leeds Civic Hall on 8 December 2016. A report[63] recommending approval of the application was presented to the panel by planning officer Chris Briggs. During the presentation, Councillor Stuart McKenna complained that he could not hear a word that Chris Briggs was saying, because of all the councillors who were talking. The proposed building was the same height as the one proposed at the meeting of the plans panel on 8 September 2016. The only differences were (1) that a room on level 7 had been transferred from its position facing Park Lane to a new position also on level 7, but at the side of the building facing north west, and (2) that the proposed building was now two thirds grey and one third brick red, whereas previously, it had all been brick red. Following the presentation by planning officer Chris Briggs, my neighbour Richard Hellawell and I gave two minute speeches asking for the application to be rejected because it was the same height and bulk as before. Then the developer’s architect, Christian Sanders, instead of using all of the four minutes available to him, said just three sentences. Following this, Councillor Colin Campbell made comments about the stone setts on Rutland Mount and the colour of the building, and Councillor Tom Leadley made comments about the colour of the building. Both Councillor Campbell and Councillor Leadley referred to what had been agreed at the workshop on 1 November 2016. No other councillor asked questions or made comments. The vote which followed was unanimous in support of the application. Here are the official minutes[106] of the meeting. Here is a verbatim transcript[56] of what was said at the meeting. It was compiled by me using my recording of the meeting and Leeds City’s Council’s recording of the meeting.

18 January 2017 Two "For Sale" signs are erected by Savills estate agents[107] on the perimeter of the site. One faces Burley Street and the other faces Park Lane. The signs state that the site is for sale with "planning permission for 87 student studios."[108]
10 March 2017 The Decision Notice[109] is published on the council's website[110]

The above planning history does not include details of site visits or all the meetings and discussions between planning officers and the developer.

The Run-Up to the 8 September 2016 Plans Panel

At the meeting of the plans panel on 28 July 2016, the official minutes[70] show that councillors resolved, "That determination of the application be deferred to allow the applicant time to address the comments made by Members in respect of the building design, the massing and bulk of the proposal and further details about external finishing / materials was required."

The planning officer's report[36] recommending that the revised application be approved, was published on Leeds City Council's website on 31 August 2016. The report was dated 8 September 2016 which meant that the revised application would be decided by the plans panel when it met on 8 September 2016.

My neighbour Richard Hellawell and I were never notified by the council that the revised application was to be decided at a meeting of the plans panel on 8 September 2016. I found out that the application was to be decided on 8 September 2016 because I was keeping a watch on the council website. On 4 September 2016, I emailed the planning department to complain that there were no details about the revised planning application,[111] on the council's website, and to point out that because of this, it was impossible to make comments. On 7 September 2016, I emailed[112] planning officer Chris Briggs to say that the planning department should have re-publicised the application to enable people to comment on the revisions, and to point out that it was impossible for him to have recommended the revised application's approval in a report published on 31 August 2016, when he didn't have access to the revised plans and drawings on 31 August 2016. At about 1pm on 7 September 2016, my neighbour Richard Hellawell emailed[113] the plans panel councillors to let them know that the revised planning application details had still not been published on the council's website, and that it was impossible for the officer to have written a report recommending the application's approval without these documents. At about 4pm, Richard sent a second email[114] to councillors letting them know that the revised plans had only just appeared on the council website. He pointed out to councillors that this meant they had less than 24 hours to consider them, and repeated the fact that the planning officer had written the report in advance of receiving the revised plans. Planning officer Chris Briggs replied[71] to Richard and I at about 4.15pm to apologise and to say that although the planning department had only received the revised drawings that morning, he had had sufficient details relating to the application, to able him to write his report the week before. He also said that the reason the drawings had not been put on the council website until 4pm, was due to IT problems.

This incident raises several questions. Should the revised application have been publicised? Should objectors have been notified that the plans panel would be deciding the revised application on 8 September 2016? Should the planning officer have written a report recommending approval, when the revised plans were not available until the day before the panel was due to sit? Should the planning officer not have waited to see objectors' comments about the revised application, before writing his report recommending that the application be approved? Did the publication of the revised plans less that 24 hours before the plans panel was due to sit, give councillors sufficient time to study the revised plans?

This chart lists all the notifications sent out by the planning department in connection with planning application 14/03735/FU, the appeal, and planning application 16/01322/FU. It reveals that the planning department failed to notify objectors about either the amendments to planning application 16/01322/FU that were considered at the 8 September 2016 city centre plans panel, or about the date of the panel itself. The only notification was the email from planning officer Chris Briggs.

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Notifications issued by the council's planning department
3 July 2014 Notification of planning application 14/03735/FU sent to Little Woodhouse Community Association.[115]
15 August  2014 Notification of an amendment to planning application 14/03735/FU.[116]
30 October 2014 Notification of an amendment to planning application 14/03735/FU.[117]
4 February 2015 Notification of an amendment to planning application 14/03735/FU.[118]
4 February 2015 Notification that planning application 14/03735/FU will be determined by the city centre plans panel on 12 February 2015.[119]
27 April 2015 Notification that an appeal had been lodged against refusal of planning permission for application 14/03735/FU.[120]
22 June 2015 Notification that the appeal would be heard on 22 July 2015.[121]
14 March 2016 Notification of planning application 16/01322/FU sent to Little Woodhouse Community Association.[122]
1 June 2016 Notification of an amendment to planning application 16/01322/FU.[123]
20 July 2016 Notification that planning application 16/01322/FU would be determined by the city centre plans panel on 28 July 2016.[124]
14 November 2016 Notification that an amendment had been made on 10 November 2016 to planning application 16/01322/FU.[125]
30 November 2016 Notification that planning application 16/01322/FU would be determined by the city centre plans panel on 8 December 2016.[126]

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Workshop

Was it proper to have a workshop?

It seems to me to be wrong for councillors to meet with developers. But national guidance encourages pre-application meetings. Some of this guidance even seems to suggest that it is acceptable for councillors to meet with developers after an application has been submitted. The question is, what is the distinction between a meeting that takes place before an application is submitted, and one that takes place after? In other words, why does such a meeting suddenly become wrong, after the submission of a planning application?

The Local Government Association's document "Positive Engagement - a guide for planning councillors"[72] states:

"Be prepared to hold discussions with an applicant before a planning application is made, not just after it has been submitted to your authority."

This seems to suggest that it was alright for the workshop to take place.

Leeds City Council's draft guidance[73] (which wasn't adopted) on pre-application presentations states:

"Subject to the provisions laid out in the Code of Practice for the Determination of Planning Matters (3), Members will give an informal response to the presentation but will not give advice that indicates a pre-judging of the proposals."
"Questions to clarify aspects of a proposal or policy concerns are legitimate, but must not develop into negotiations. Any comments made will be without prejudice to the right of the individual Member and the Plans Panel to determine any subsequent application as they see fit. Members will only make their decision on the application after having received the officer’s report and heard all the relevant evidence, arguments and views at the full meeting of the Plans Panel."

Leeds City Council's "Protocol for pre-application presentations at the Plans Panels."[74]

Report of the chief planning officer on "Pre-application presentations to the Plans Panels"[75]

Leeds City Council's guide to plans panels[76]

The Local Government Association's "Probity in Planning."[77]

The Local Government Association's "Engaging councillors and communities in pre-application discussions"[78]

Planning Act 2008: Guidance on the pre-application process[79]

Did the workshop proceed correctly?

If the council was treating the workshop as a pre-application meeting, then according to its own guidelines, local representatives should have been invited to attend, and a full note should have been made of what was said at the meeting. But neither of these requirements was met.

In an email to me dated 13 December 2016, Daljit Singh said of the workshop, "Although not a pre-application discussion, the workshop followed the approach set out in the Council’s Planning Code of Good Practice[80] (para 5) which forms part of the Council’s constitution. This protocol mirrors the principles contained within the LGA’s Probity in Planning[127] document to which you refer. Members are further aware of their obligations and legal position regarding bias and predetermination (a guide to which is contained at Appendix A[128] of the Code of Good Practice)"

When I emailed Daljit Singh on 13 December 2016 to ask him if ward members had been invited to attend the workshop, his response sent to me by email dated 14 December 2016[129] was, "The ward members were not invited because the workshop was held at the request of Plans Panel to enable better articulation of their design concerns prior to them taking a decision on the application. The ward members are not in a position to determine the application and therefore were not invited."

Paragraph 2.7 on page of the officer’s report[63] dated 8 December 2016 stated, "As noted in the September report, Rutland Mount would be retained as public highway but closed to vehicles as part of the proposal. The works would include new tarmac footpaths along each side to allow access to the new building and a maintenance strip for the sorting office. The existing cobbles would be retained and repaired across the remainder of its width, including new Yorkstone footways in response to member comments, and four new tree planters installed. Exact details of the design would be controlled by condition.”

The transcript[56] of the plans panel meeting of 8 December 2016 shows that Councillor Colin Campbell said, "And you will know that Rutland Street is dear to my heart. And I thought we’d agreed in principle that on Rutland Street, the setts would remain, which it shows on here, Rutland Mount sorry, the setts would remain. It shows those on here, yes. I thought we’d decided though that it was better, rather than put the trees in brick planters, we would actually have them at ground level so that the rainwater could run down and actually water them. So we don’t get that issue in relation to plants dying. And I thought we’d also agreed that we’d ask for the pavement section of Rutland Mount to be York stone."

Councillor Campbell said that they had decided that it would be better to have the trees at ground level rather than in planters. No councillor or planning officer present at the plans panel meeting on 8 December 2016 disagreed with Councillor Campbell’s statement. And yet, the transcripts of the plans panel meetings of the 28 July 2016[49] and 8 September 2016[61] show that this issue was never discussed at either of those meetings. It can only have been discussed at the workshop on 1 November 2016. And if it was discussed at the workshop, it should have been mentioned in the officer’s notes[58] on what was discussed at the workshop. But there is no mention of this issue in the officer’s notes. This raises the question as to what else has been left out of the officer’s notes.

Planning officer Chris Briggs said in his email[81] to me of 9 December 2016, "Councillors made it clear at the meeting that they would not be making decisions at the workshop…” And yet at the plans panel meeting on 8 December 2016, the transcript[56] shows that Councillor Campbell said about the tree planting, "I thought we’d decided…” Councillor Campbell also referred twice to what had been agreed, which shows that agreements were made at the workshop.

Referring to the proposed colour of the building at the plans panel meeting on 8 December 2016, Councillor Tom Leadley said, "I don’t think that’s really what we decided at the workshop.”

And Councillor Colin Campbell said with regards to colour, "I think that more reflects what I thought we'd agreed."

It really does sound from all of this that everything to do with the application, was agreed at the workshop, so that all that was required at the plans panel meeting on 8 December 2016, was a vote by councillors to approve the application.

The transcript[56] shows that Councillor Stuart McKenna even complained at the 8 December 2016 plans panel meeting, during the presentation given by Chris Briggs, that he couldn’t hear a word that Chris Briggs was saying because of all the councillors talking. He said, "There’s so many people talking in room, I can’t hear anything he’s saying." When I checked the workshop notes,[58] I discovered that Councillor Stuart McKenna had not been present at the workshop, so unlike the other councillors, he may have been interested to hear what was being proposed. I assume the other councillors weren’t listening to Chris Briggs's because he was not telling them anything new, because everything had already been decided, and they were just waiting for the vote.

Bias in Favour of Headingley

For at least thirteen years, councillors and planning officers have supported proposals for student blocks in Hyde Park and Woodhouse ward, and neighbouring City and Hunselt ward, as a means of getting students out of Headingley ward. And yet nowhere in the Unitary Development Plan which was in force until November 2014, or the Core Strategy which replaced it, is there any policy which states that this is an aim of Leeds City Council. Here are some examples of planning bias in favour of Headingley, including bias in relation to the decision to approve the 46 Burley Street application.

Evidence of bias in favour of Headingley
1 September 2005 On 1 September 2005, RMP Properties submitted planning application 20/419/05/FU[130] for a 14 storey student block at 46 Burley Street that would have housed 304 students in 55 cluster flats and had five car parking spaces. The application was accompanied by a letter to the planning department which stated that if the proposal was accepted, it would relieve pressure (from students) in other “more sensitive” areas of Leeds. The more sensitive area referred to, was Headingley.
8 December 2005 At a meeting of the city centre plans panel on 8 December 2005, councillors voted to approve the planning application to build Concept House, a proposal to build a large student block between Park Lane and Belle Vue Road. Councillor Neil Taggart (Labour, Bramley) said, "Headingley is the jewel in the crown of Leeds," and, "We must welcome anything that benefits Headingley." Councillor Martin Hamilton (Lib Dem, Headingley) said something similar. I wrote to the Yorkshire Evening Post on 18 November 2005[131] to complain that it was wrong for planning applications in my area to be decided on the basis of whether they would benefit Headingley. Councillor Martin Hamilton wrote to me on 8 December 2005.[132] Councillor Hamilton did not deny what he had said, and confirmed what Councillor Taggart had said.
10 January 2007 At a drop-in session held at the Swarthmore Centre in Little Woodhouse, details were given of planning application 06/05350/FU to build a 23 storey student tower block on Woodhouse Lane, designed to provide 369 student bed spaces. The meeting was attended by planning officer Daljit Singh, who told me that it was a good application because it would get students out of Headingley.
2 July 2009 At a meeting of Leeds City Council's North West Inner Area Committee, Councillor Penny Ewens (Lib Dem, Hyde Park and Woodhouse) apologised to Headingley resident Richard Tyler, for the fact that the accumulated affordable housing section 106 monies from Hyde Park and Woodhouse ward, had been spent, instead of being handed to Headingley Development Trust as agreed. Councillor Ewens said that this was due to an "officer cock-up." She added that all future affordable housing section 106 monies from Hyde Park and Woodhouse ward, would be given to Headingley Development Trust. Headingley Development Trust is a community land trust that was set up by Richard Tyler and other Headingley residents with a view to purchasing student housing and renting it out to long term residents. The minutes[133] of the meeting held on 2 July 2009 show that it was resolved:

"15 (b) That authority be given for the Chair of the Area Committee to write to the Executive Member for Development requesting clarification on the S106 contributions for affordable housing and to request that the monies promised by the Headingley & Kirkstall ward members to the Headingley Development Trust project to convert landlord properties into family homes should be fulfilled. If this was not possible, then the Headingley Development Trust scheme should be prioritized for city wide funding from affordable housing S106 monies.

"(During discussion of this item Councillor B Chastney and Councillor J Matthews indicated that they were Members of the Plans Panel (West) and could possibly be considering matters from this item at a later date in that capacity. They both stated that they would remain in the meeting to listen to and take part in the discussion of this issue. In order to avoid any perception of pre-determination, both Councillors Chastney and Matthews agreed that they would not be bound by any discussion taken at the meeting when issues from this matter came before Plans Panel (West) for determination, but would consider all representations and viewpoints presented at the planning meeting before reaching a conclusion based on the merits of the case)"

I subsequently learnt that an informal arrangement existed between the councillors of the four wards which formed the north west inner area, that all affordable housing section 106 monies arising from developments in the four wards, would be given to Headingley Development Trust. This meant that the three Headingley councillors, two of whom sat on the city centre plans panel, and one of whom sat on the west plans panel, had an interest in approving major planning applications of the sort that were being approved in my locality and elsewhere. I sent them an email[134] about this on 8 August 2009. Councillor Jamie Matthews replied by email[135] on 10 August 2009. He said that he would seek advice from the council's legal department. Councillor James Monaghan replied by email[136] on 11 August 2009 and suggested that it was ridiculous to think there might be a conflict of interest. Councillor Matthews never let me know what advice he was given by Leeds City Council's legal department.

10 December 2016 On 9 December 2016, I emailed Councillor Neil Walshaw (Labour, Headingley) and asked him why he had changed his mind (since the meeting of the plans panel on 8 September 2016) and decided to support application 16/01322/FU to build a student block at 46 Burley Street. In his reply[137] dated 10 September 2016, he said, "I was never against the application in principle but had concerns over its design. You will also remember I had questions over viability. The Workshop & subsequent changes satisfied my design concerns & strategically additional PBSA is a lever to potentially free up housing in Headingley. I was therefore able to see it pass. A key issue here is that this was PBSA in the right location whereas the Victoria Rd student village was the wrong location & we achieved a significant victory in its defeat."

The city centre does not include Headingley. And whilst there are no councillors from Hyde Park and Woodhouse ward on the city centre plans panel, it seems that there are always two from Headingley. This would seem to be disproportionate representation.

Loss of Amenity

Concept House

When a planning application was submitted in December 2003 to build a student block which would later be known as Concept Place, planning officers made sure that there was no access to the proposed building from Belle Vue Road. This was to prevent loss of amenity to existing local residents from taxis using such an entrance as a picking-up and dropping-off point for students. The planning application to build Concept House (reference 20/447/03/FU) was submitted by RMP Properties. It was to build a part 9, part 13 storey block on a triangle of land between Belle Vue Road and Park Lane. The proposed development would have provided 491 bed spaces. Lack of access from Belle Vue Road was given by the planning officer as a selling point of the application. Paragraph 4.1.4[64] of the planning officer's report[65] stated, "The vehicular and pedestrian entrances to the building, as well as the commercial uses, are all on its southern elevation, on the opposite side of the building to the existing residential uses. This will focus any noise associated with arrivals/departures to this side of the building." So when planning application 20/387/05/FU was presented to the city centre plans panel on 8 December 2005, the proposed building provided no access to the property from Belle Vue Road.

46 Burley Street

Planning officers failed to give the same consideration to existing residents with regards to planning applications 14/03735/FU and 16/01322/FU. Paragraph 6.2 on page 4[66] of the planning officer's report[1] to plans panel on 12 February 2015 regarding planning application 14/03735/FU noted that objectors' had concerns about taxis using Park Lane as a picking up and dropping off point. However, a similar concern was not noted at paragraph 5.6[67] of the officer's report[36] to plans panel on 28 July 2016 regarding planning application 16/01322, even though this concern was expressed at paragraph 5 of my objection[68] to planning application 16/01322/FU.

The concern about Park Lane being used as a picking-up and dropping-off point by taxis was not addressed in either the officer's report dated 12 February 2015 or the officer's report dated 28 July 2016. As well as being negligent, it is inconsistent not to deal with an issue which was clearly of importance to the planning officer who wrote the report dated 19 February 2004 recommending approval of planning application 20/447/03/FU.

Lack of Site Advertising

At the meeting of the city centre plans panel on 28 July 2016, the developer’s agent, Simon Grundy made much of the fact that only two local residents had objected to the scheme, and claimed this must mean that other local people supported it.[69] After the meeting was over, I walked all around the edge of the site and along the roads that pass the site. I was unable to find any of the yellow planning application notices that the council is required to attach to lamp posts and fences in the area adjacent to sites which are the subject of a planning application. When the application was amended prior to the 8 September 2016 and the 8 December 2016 plans panel meetings, no yellow notices were posted advertising the fact.

The Principle of Student Accommodation

Map showing the proliferation of purpose built student accommodation in Little Woodhouse

The Concentration of Purpose Built Student Accommodation in Little Woodhouse

In recent years, numerous student blocks have been built very close to where I live in Little Woodhouse. The total number of bed spaces provided by these blocks is 4,572. The development proposed for 46 Burley Street would add an additional 87 student bed spaces, bringing the total to 4,659. In 2016, an application was approved for 82 Hyde Park Road, which will add an additional 40 student bed spaces. Also in 2016, an application was submitted for Woodhouse Square, which if approved, would add a further 130 student bed spaces. These latest applications would bring the total number of student bed spaces in purpose built student accommodation in Little Woodhouse to 4,829. The map and chart on the left shows the extent to which purpose built student accommodation is being concentrated in one area, and its proximity to where I live on Kendal Walk. This table[7] shows when the various applications were approved.

Paragraph 5.1.14 on page 62[138] of Leeds City Council's Core Strategy[139] (adopted 12 November 2014) states, "The City Centre remains a good location for purpose built student housing, but excessive concentrations in one area should be avoided in line with Policy H6.” The map on the left shows that 46 Burley Street is just inside the city centre, and that the proposed student block would add to an already large concentration of purpose built student accommodation in one area and therefore be contrary to Core Strategy policy H6.

Policy H6(B)(iii) on page 76[140] of the Core Strategy states, "Development proposals for purpose built student accommodation will be controlled: To avoid excessive concentrations of student accommodation (in a single development or in combination with existing accommodation) which would undermine the balance and wellbeing of communities.” The proposal for 46 Burley Street would add to an already excessive concentration of student accommodation.

The National Planning Policy Framework[141] aims to establish mixed communities. Paragraph 50[142] states, "To deliver a wide choice of high quality homes, widen opportunities for home ownership and create sustainable, inclusive and mixed communities, local planning authorities should: plan for a mix of housing based on current and future demographic trends, market trends and the needs of different groups in the community (such as, but not limited to, families with children, older people, people with disabilities, service families and people wishing to build their own homes)…" Application 16/01322/FU did none of these things.

Little Woodhouse is not a mixed community of the type referred by the National Planning Policy Framework. The addition of 4,572 student bed spaces in purpose built student accommodation has led to a situation where long-term residents are greatly outnumbered by students. A chart[10] from page 31 of a report[9] commissioned by Unipol entitled, "Assessment of Housing Market Conditions and Demand Trends in Inner North West Leeds" shows that whereas students comprised 50% of the local community in 2007, by 2012, they comprised about 75%.
Plan 8 from the Kirkstall Road Renaissance Area Planning Framework, with a marker added showing the location of 46 Burley Street. Area 4 (City Heights), is enclosed by a black line

The Concentration of Purpose Built Student Accommodation in Area 4 (City Heights)

The Kirkstall Road Renaissance Area Planning Framework[4] divides the area bordering Kirkstall Road into six sub areas. As the map on the right shows, 46 Burley Street is located in Area 4 (City Heights). When the Framework was published on 18 January 2007, Area 4 contained 2,707 student bed spaces situated inside purpose built student accommodation. At paragraph 4.4.2 on page 20[5] the Framework states that there should be no more residential development in Area 4, and especially student development, because there had already been so much. It states:

"The current proposals at various stages of progress are all for residential purposes: high density cluster flats, including purpose built student accommodation. Therefore, the remaining potential redevelopment sites should only be developed for a non-residential purpose. In addition, further applications which create dominance of a particular tenure, such as student accommodation would not be acceptable as it fails to create the mixed and sustainable communities advanced in PPS3.”
Despite this, in September 2009 application 08/02061/FU was approved which will provide a further 239 student bed spaces, bringing the total number of student bed spaces in Area 4 to 2,946. If the recently approved proposal for 46 Burley Street gets built, it will add an additional 87 student bed spaces, bringing the total student bed spaces in Area 4 to 3,033.

Officers claimed that Core Strategy Policy H6 does not apply

Policy H6(B)(iii) on page 76[11] of the Core Strategy[139] states, "Development proposals for purpose built student accommodation will be controlled: To avoid excessive concentrations of student accommodation (in a single development or in combination with existing accommodation) which would undermine the balance and wellbeing of communities.” The Kirkstall Road Renaissance Area Planning Framework has already established that there is an excessive concentration of student accommodation in the area it designates as "Area 4 (City Heights)" within which 46 Burley Street is located.

On 12 February 2015, when planning application 14/03735/FU was rejected by the city centre plans panel, the issue of the use of 46 Burley Street for student housing was referred to at paragraph 10.1.2[143] on page 12 of the planning officer’s report.[1] The report stated:

"With reference to Core Strategy Policy H6: Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs), Student Accommodation, and Flat Conversions, Part B is relevant to this application proposal, and its criteria can be considered as follows. Part i) states that development proposals should help extend the supply of student accommodation taking pressure off the need for private housing to be used. This proposal would fulfil this objective. Part ii) states that development proposals should avoid the loss of existing housing suitable for family occupation, and this proposal would also meet this objective. Part iii) seeks to avoid excessive concentrations of student accommodation (in a single development or in combination with existing accommodation) which would undermine the balance and wellbeing of communities. Whether the concentration is excessive in the area depends on the consideration of the local context. Whilst excessive concentrations of student populations may cause harm to discrete residential areas, the combined proximity to the City Centre, local mixed land use functions and the proximity to the educational areas suggest that the proposed student accommodation, as a small percentage increase to an existing concentration, could be tolerated in this location. It is considered that there would be some difficulty in defining a wider area within which student housing proposals would not form part of a mixed community, taking into account the dominant commercial uses around the site, and the existing residential communities of Little Woodhouse. If the community is defined across a wider area that includes Little Woodhouse it is considered that the mix and type of residential accommodation is extremely varied, and therefore a balanced and mixed community is achieved. The key issues would be the location of a community boundary, identifying affected individuals/groups, what the harm was, identifying the individuals/groups causing harm, and the collection of robust, credible evidence to that effect. It is considered that this area features one of the more diverse ranges of land use in and around the edge of the City Centre."

The above statement contradicts what planning officer Chris Briggs said in an email[21] he sent on 18 October 2013 to Hannah Smith of Indigo Planning, "Acknowledging Daljit’s discussion with Simon when we met with him on 27 September 2013, please note the Council’s emerging policy position regarding student housing. Notwithstanding the objections to the proposed changes to Policy H6 of the draft Core Strategy, the policy, incorporating the changes to it, was agreed by the Council’s Executive Board on 4th September and is a material planning consideration. Consequently,as others have already done so in recent applications, the requirements of Policy H6B (as amended) need to be addressed by the application." Apart from an email to Chris Briggs from Richard Webster at the council's Transport Development Services, also sent on 18 October 2013, there were no further emails in the bundle[92] sent to me in response to my Freedom of Information request, until one sent from Chris Briggs to Simon Grundy on 12 October 2015, which was after the appeal against refusal of planning permission for application 14/03735/FU had been dismissed. So there is a two year gap in the email record between 18 October 2013 and 12 October 2015. This means we have no explanation for why the planning department failed to recommend refusal of planning application 14/03735/FU on the principle of student occupation, even though Indigo Planning did not address Core Strategy Policy H6(B)(iii) in the planning statement[22] which accompanied planning application 14/03735/FU.

The minutes[3] of the plans panel meeting held on 12 February 2015 made no mention of the student housing issue. However, my notes[3] of the meeting show that Councillor Peter Gruen did raise the issue, and received a response from planning officer Daljit Singh. Here is my note of what the planning officer said, "There are hundreds and hundreds of students bed spaces in this area. If we were to have evidence that there are too many students in this area, we would need to make the case. If we stick with the ward as the area, this is a mixed-use ward. The student housing market means we have a lot more applications in the pipeline. Applications are shifting to a central location."

On 28 July 2016, when planning application 16/01322/FU was considered for the first time at a meeting of the city centre plans panel, the issue of student accommodation was dealt with at paragraph 9.1.2[144] of the officer's report,[36] which stated:

"Adopted Core Strategy Policy H6B relates specifically to the provision of student housing and is relevant to this application proposal. H6B was adopted following the Core Strategy Inspector’s rejection of the Council’s position that the policy should include a test for need when considering applications for new student housing. The application is assessed as follows against the criteria within Policy H6B:
Part i) states that development proposals should help extend the supply of student accommodation taking pressure off the need for private housing to be used. This proposal would assist this objective by providing 87 purpose-built student studio flats.
Part ii) states that development proposals should avoid the loss of existing housing suitable for family occupation, and this proposal would also meet this objective, because it does not propose the loss of any family housing.
Part iii) seeks to avoid excessive concentrations of student accommodation (in a single development or in combination with existing accommodation) which would undermine the balance and wellbeing of communities. Whether the concentration is excessive in the area depends on the consideration of the local context. Whilst excessive concentrations of student populations can cause harm to discrete residential areas, it is considered that as a result of the site location within a busy City Centre environment, the local mixed land use functions and the proximity to the educational campus areas that the proposed student accommodation, as a small percentage increase to an existing concentration, could be tolerated in this location. It is considered that there would be some difficulty in defining a wider area within which student housing proposals would not form part of a mixed community, taking into account the dominant commercial uses around the site, and the existing residential communities of Little Woodhouse. If the community is defined across a wider area that includes Little Woodhouse and the area up to Kirkstall Road to the south, it is considered that the mix and type of residential accommodation is extremely varied, and therefore a balanced and mixed community is achieved. The key issues would be the location of a community boundary, identifying affected individuals/groups, what the harm was, identifying the individuals/groups causing harm, and the collection of robust, credible evidence to that effect. In addition the location and surrounding topography of the site means that students are likely to travel along the more convenient and direct main roads to nearby educational campuses and city centre facilities, rather than through more traditional residential streets such as the Kendals to the north. It is therefore considered that the proposal would not undermine the balance and well-being of existing communities in the area."
This chart[10] from page 31 of a report[9] commissioned by Unipol entitled, "Assessment of Housing Market Conditions and Demand Trends in Inner North West Leeds" shows that whereas students comprised 50% of the population of Little Woodhouse in 2007, by 2012 they comprised about 75%.

Officers' claim that there is a "balanced and mixed community"

Policy H6(B)(iii) on page 76[11] of the Core Strategy[139] states:

"Development proposals for purpose built student accommodation will be controlled: To avoid excessive concentrations of student accommodation (in a single development or in combination with existing accommodation) which would undermine the balance and wellbeing of communities.”

Paragraph 10.1.2[143]of the report to plans panel dated 12 February 2015[1] in relation to planning application 14/03735/FU,and paragraph 9.1.2[144] of the report to plans panel dated 28 July 2016,[36] in relation to planning application 16/01322/FU, both claimed that Policy H6(B)(iii) did not apply. They stated:

"It is considered that there would be some difficulty in defining a wider area within which student housing proposals would not form part of a mixed community, taking into account the dominant commercial uses around the site, and the existing residential communities of Little Woodhouse. If the community is defined across a wider area that includes Little Woodhouse and the area up to Kirkstall Road to the south, it is considered that the mix and type of residential accommodation is extremely varied, and therefore a balanced and mixed community is achieved."
It is difficult to see how the planning department can claim that "Little Woodhouse and the area up to Kirkstall Road to the south" is "a balanced and mixed community." Permanent residents in this area are greatly outnumbered by students. A chart[10] from page 31 of a report[9] commissioned by Unipol entitled, "Assessment of Housing Market Conditions and Demand Trends in Inner North West Leeds" shows that whereas students comprised 50% of the local community in 2007, by 2012, they comprised about 75%.

Officers Misrepresented the meaning of Core Strategy Policy H6

Paragraph 10.1.2[143]of the report to plans panel dated 12 February 2015[1] in relation to planning application 14/03735/FU, and paragraph 9.1.2[144] of the report to plans panel dated 28 July 2016,[36] in relation to planning application 16/01322/FU, both stated:

"The key issues would be the location of a community boundary, identifying affected individuals/groups, what the harm was, identifying the individuals/groups causing harm, and the collection of robust, credible evidence to that effect."

When planning officers spoke of "the key issues," they meant the key issues in relation to Core Strategy Policy H6(B)(iii) on page 76[11] of the Core Strategy,[139] which states, "Development proposals for purpose built student accommodation will be controlled: To avoid excessive concentrations of student accommodation (in a single development or in combination with existing accommodation) which would undermine the balance and wellbeing of communities.”

Planning officers have misinterpreted Policy H6(B)(iii). Policy H6(B)(iii) advises against allowing harmful concentrations of purpose built student accommodation in the first place. It does not say that where concentrations of purpose built student accommodation already exist, they can be added to unless "robust and credible" evidence exists identifying harm, and the perpetrators and victims of that harm. The planning department's interpretation of Policy H6(B)(iii) renders the policy meaningless. If the planning department's interpretation was correct, it would mean that concentrations of purpose built student accommodation could be created and augmented until they began to create harm, by which time it would be too late to do anything about the problem that had been created.

A map produced by Leeds City Council showing the boundary of the Little Woodhouse Neighbourhood Area approved by Leeds City Council on 3 February 2015. Purpose built student accommodation already built or in the pipeline is shown by pink shading.

The Location of the Community Boundary

Paragraph 10.1.2[143]of the report to plans panel dated 12 February 2015[1] in relation to planning application 14/03735/FU,and paragraph 9.1.2[144] of the report to plans panel dated 28 July 2016,[36] in relation to planning application 16/01322/FU, both stated:

"The key issues would be the location of a community boundary, identifying affected individuals/groups, what the harm was, identifying the individuals/groups causing harm, and the collection of robust, credible evidence to that effect."
At the time that both reports were written, a community boundary that included the 46 Burley Street site and all the other purpose built student accommodation in Little Woodhouse, had already been identified by the interim Little Woodhouse Neighbourhood Forum. This boundary had been approved by Leeds City Council on 3 February 2015, prior to the statement made at paragraph 10.1.2 of the 12 February 2015 officer's report and at paragraph 9.1.2 of the 28 July 2016 officer's report, that no community boundary had been identified. This letter[145] from Leeds City Council dated 3 February 2015 confirms that the boundary was approved on 3 February 2015. This is the map[146] referred to in the letter which shows the approved boundary. The approved boundary is also shown on the map on the right. Purpose built student accommodation is shown by areas shaded pink. This Leeds City Council web page[147] shows that the interim Little Woodhouse Neighbourhood Forum received approval from Leeds City Council on 16 February 2015. On this date, the Forum became known as the Little Woodhouse Neighbourhood Forum.

Evidence of Harm - A Significant Drop in the Number of Long-Term Residents

In 2007 and 2012, reports were published about the state of the student housing market in Leeds. The reports contain figures which show that between 2006/07 and 2011/12, the number of long-term residents in Little Woodhouse dropped by 650. Whilst this fact is not stated in the 2012 report, it can be deduced from data contained in the 2007 report and clues contained in the 2012 report. The two reports were prepared by a company called re'new.[148] The 2007 report was called, "A Strategy for Housing Students in Leeds 2005-2010"[149] and was commissioned by Leeds City Council. The 2012 report was called "Assessment of Housing Market Conditions and Demand Trends in Inner North West Leeds”[9] and was commissioned by student landlord and letting agency "Unipol."

The figures contained in the 2007 report relate to student numbers and bed spaces in various areas of Leeds in 2006/07. Page 10[150] of the report states, "Data collected from the two universities shows a continuing concentration of students in the various communities of inner north-west Leeds." The two universities referred to are Leeds University and Leeds Metropolitan University (Leeds Metropolitan University is now known as Leeds Beckett University). The data supplied by the two universities is displayed in a table on page 11[151] of the report. This table is also shown at Appendix B on page 29 of the report. For reasons that are not stated, there is no equivalent updated table contained in the 2012 report. The 2012 report makes frequent comparisons between the 2006/07 data and the unpublished 2011/12 data by giving the percentage changes that occurred between 2006/07 and 2011/12. This means that the 2012 report's authors must have had equivalent figures for 2011/12 in front of them when they wrote the 2012 report. A percentage given in Graph 11 on page 31[152] of the 2012 report[9] and another percentage given on page 30[153] of the 2012 report, make it possible to calculate the student and non student numbers for Little Woodhouse in 2011/12 that have been omitted from the 2012 report. The following paragraph explains how this is done.

Student Numbers in Little Woodhouse from 2006/07 to 2011/12
Year Little Woodhouse Non Student Population Little
Woodhouse
Student
Population
Little Woodhouse Total Population Students as a Percentage of the Total Population
2006/07 2,277 2,493 4,770 52.3%
2011/12 1,627 4,883 6,510 75%
Data supplied by Leeds University and Leeds Beckett University, and published by re'new, shows that between 2006/07 and 2011/12, student numbers in Little Woodhouse increased by 2,390 from 2,493 to 4,883, whilst the number of long term residents dropped by 650 from 2,277 to 1,627 in the same period.

The table on page 11,[151] of re'new's 2007 report, shows that in 2006/07, the total number of residents in Little Woodhouse was 4,770, of which 2,493 were students. On page 30[153] of the 2012 report "Assessment of Housing Market Conditions and Demand Trends in Inner North West Leeds,"[9] it states that between 2006/07 and 2011/12, student numbers in Little Woodhouse increased by 95.9%. Since we know from the 2007 report that the figure for student numbers in 2006/07 was 2,493, this means that by 2011/12, student numbers had increased to 4,883. The bar chart on page 31[152] of the 2012 report[9] shows that whereas students comprised 50% of the local population in 2006/07, by 2011/12, they comprised 75%. Since we already know that student numbers in Little Woodhouse had increased to 4,883 by 2011/12, this means that the total number of residents was 6,510. Since this total of 6,510 included 4,883 students, it means that the number of non students in 2011/12 was 1,627. This figure represents a drop of 650 from the figure of 2,277 for non student residents in 2006/07.

Table 15 on page 29[154] of re'new's 2012 report shows that in 2012, there were just 21 empty properties in Little Woodhouse. This suggests that as the number of long-term residents decreased by 650, the number of students occupying off-street properties increased by a similar number. Support for this proposition can be found on page 12[155] of the 2007 report where it states,"The development of purpose-built housing in city centre fringe locations has brought some gradual spread into areas outside inner NW Leeds; there has been some movement of students (approximately 90) from the Kirkstall Brewery complex to the adjacent area suggesting that movements of students may take place from purpose built housing to adjacent areas (possibly Chapeltown, Harehils and Chapel Allerton)." Further support for the proposition can be found at page 34[156] of the 2012 report, which states, "There has been a continuing movement from purpose-built accommodation into the immediate surrounding areas for second- and third-year residence."

Graph 14 on page 33 of the 2012 report purports to show drops in the number of students living in off-street properties in various areas. The apparent drop of 57% in Little Woodhouse was achieved by comparing the total number of students in 2006/07 with the total number of students in 2011/12, after first subtracting the unrealistically small number of 300 students from the 2006/07 total, and the unrealistically large number of 3,922 students from the 2011/12 total (the figures of 300 and 3,922 are claimed to be the numbers of students living in PBSA in 2006/07 and 2011/12). The resulting drop of 57% is completely unreal.

Data presented in the form of bar charts in the 2012 report should be treated with caution as some of it is misleading and some of it is inaccurate. For example, Graph 14 on page 33[157] of the report claims that between 2006/07 and 2011/12, the proportion of students living in off-street properties in Little Woodhouse dropped by 57% (see image on the right). Further down on the same page, the claim is repeated where it states, "The "number" of students in off-street properties in Little Woodhouse has reduced by 57%." The figure of 57% is the difference between: the total number of students in 2007 less the number of students in purpose built student accommodation in 2007 minus the total number of students in 2012 less the number of students in purpose built accommodation in 2012 all divided by the total number of students in 2007 less the number of students in purpose built student accommodation in 2007 multiplied by 100.

(2,493 - 300) - (4,883 - 3,922) x 100 = 56.2%
(2,493 - 300)aaaaaaaaa

The reliability of the 56.2% figure (rounded up to 57% by the report's authors) depends on the reliability of the figures that were used to calculate it. Page 31[152] of the report states, "The largest increases in areas accommodating students in purpose-built accommodation have been in Little Woodhouse (300 in 2006/07 to 3,922 in 2011/12)..." This conveys that the figures of 300 and 3,922 refer to student numbers. But it is more likely that the figure of 3,922 for 2011/12 relates to bed spaces in purpose built student accommodation since if it related to student numbers, it would mean that there was close to 100% occupancy of the available bed spaces. The figure of 300 for 2006/07 is even more difficult to make any sense of. It possibly relates to the number of bed spaces in purpose built student accommodation in a version of Little Woodhouse with a boundary which excluded the Little Woodhouse Student Village. By deducting an unrealistically small number of students living in PBSA in 2006/07 and an unrealistically large number for 2011/12, from the total numbers of students for both years, you achieve the unrealistically large drop of 57% in the number of students living in off-street properties. Graph 14 was reproduced on page 3 of a Unipol guide[158] published in 2013 called, "The Changing Face of North West Leeds." The 2012 report contains other examples of bar charts containing incorrect data.[159]
Graph showing that student numbers in Little Woodhouse rose from 2,493 in 2006/07 to 4,883 in 2011/12. The graph has been compiled using data from the table on page 11[151] of re'new's 2007 report[149] and percentage increases shown on pages 30 and 31[160] of re'new's 2012 report.[9]

Evidence of Harm - The Rise in Student Numbers

Paragraph 10.1.2[143]of the report to plans panel dated 12 February 2015[1] in relation to planning application 14/03735/FU,and paragraph 9.1.2[144] of the report to plans panel dated 28 July 2016,[36] in relation to planning application 16/01322/FU, both stated:

"The key issues would be the location of a community boundary, identifying affected individuals/groups, what the harm was, identifying the individuals/groups causing harm, and the collection of robust, credible evidence to that effect."

There is numerous evidence of harm to the community. Some is contained in re'new's 2007 report "A Strategy for Housing Students in Leeds 2005–2010,"[149] which was commissioned by Leeds City Council. On page 7[161]it states:

"There has been a particularly large expansion of supply especially in the area between Burley Road and Kirkstall Road adjacent to Little Woodhouse offering en-suite bedrooms, high degree of security; all-in deals; hospitality services (hotel services) and internal facilities (gyms, swimming pools, communal areas with plasma screens etc). There has been strong criticism of the lack of infrastructure and amenities especially parking in the Burley Road/ Kirkstall Road complexes although UNITE and the other providers are clearly requesting students NOT to bring cars and have negotiated bus service to city site and Becketts Park campuses."

Page 8,[162] of the 2007 report states:

"There are some concerns that the new purpose built buildings are getting increasingly large – there will be two developments of over 1,000 bed spaces by 2007 in Leeds which will inevitably bring some issues with behaviour and could lead to lack of proper socialisation within the building and a danger that this could push anti social behaviour into the surrounding streets or, students failing to become socialised in their first year accommodation posing potential problems where they move into shared housing in their second year of residence."

Page 13,[163] of the 2007 report states:

"Applications have been assessed on case by case basis rather than within a clearly defined strategic framework and the cumulative impact on surrounding areas, in Little Woodhouse, for example, may have been underestimated and that little consideration given to the function of these buildings as residential communities or of connection to transport infrastructure and amenities. It should also be noted however, that as the number of purpose build buildings increase from providing around 3,500 bed spaces to the 5,500 that will definitely exist by 2008, the number of empty rooms in those complexes will increase."

Evidence of Harm - Other Effects of the Rise in Student Numbers

Evidence of Harm - Other Effects of the Rise in Student Numbers
7 October 2005 In an article[164] entitled "Our area is going to be swamped by students" the Yorkshire Evening Post reported, "Residents in Leeds claim their neighbourhood is about to turn into a “student ghetto” with around 2,000 undergraduates set to move in." The article stated:
"As many as six blocks of flats – some up to fourteen storeys tall – are being planned in Little Woodhouse. The developments will be concentrated around the Burley Road and Kirkstall Road area, which already has three large blocks of student flats. Freda Matthews, chair of the Little Woodhouse Community Association, said: “We are going to be surrounded. I think we’ll end up with a student ghetto in an area without the infrastructure to support it...The sheer number of students is bound to have a major impact. I don’t think anyone would object to smaller developments but they seem to be cramming in as many as possible."
The article continued, "Mrs Matthews feels Leeds City Council failed to consider the effect on the surrounding area when granting planning permission for the latest schemes."
8 December 2005 Planning application 20/837/05/FU was approved to build Concept House (now called Concept Place), a multi-storey block on Belle Vue Road which would provide 406 student bed spaces. When I told one of the residents of the Leeds Federated Housing Association homes on Belle Vue Road that the application had been approved, she broke down in tears.
5 January 2006 An application (reference 20/491/05/FU) came before the city centre plans panel for a proposal to build a 10 storey student block at 5 Burley Road that would provide 554 student bed spaces. The discussion at the plans panel was reported by the Yorkshire Evening Post in an article[165] that appeared on 9 January 2006:
RESIDENTS in a Leeds inner city neighbourhood claim they are being "swamped" by an influx of students.
Now they are fighting the latest plan to build yet more student flats near their homes.
Opal Property Group wants to approve a 10-storey building for over 500 students in Burley Road, Burley.
But Mr Philip Walshaw of the Malborough Residents Association says that developments either already built, under construction, or in the pipeline will bring over 5,000 students to the neighbourhood. Mr Walshaw told the Council's City Centre Plan Panel: "We are being swamped by students. We are woken at three and four in the morning, and we know it's not local residents, because you can see them going back to their accommodation halls."
He added: "We feel the system is being overloaded. The emphasis is on the construction of huge multi-storey blocks, when the infrastructure is not there.
"An influx of about 5,000 students to the Burley and Woodhouse area is not sustainable. It is a contentious issue, and we'd like you to bear in mind the problems residents have had."
The association sent 45 letters of objection to the panel, who have decided to visit the site and consider the impact of the plans before making a final decision.
Mr Charles Webber, a consultant representing Opal Property, said the plans were within the council's guidelines set out to spread the student population around the city.
He added: "The principle of student accommodation on this site concurs with the development plan to spread student accommodation away from the concentration at Headingley and Hyde Park."
Mr Webber also argued that the problems of anti-social behaviour could not solely be attributed to students. He pointed out residents would have to sign a code of conduct before renting a room in the development.
While many councillors felt purpose built accommodation was preferable to family homes being converted into digs, Coun Elizabeth Minkin (Lab, Kirkstall) reminded the panel that they should be wary of displacing the concentration of students from Headingley to Burley.
She said: "The policy was not to lump all the new student accommodation in one place."
Coun Elizabeth Nash (Lab, City and Hunslet) was also concerned that this development was going too far. "The time has come to blow the whistle. We've got to say 'no more,'" she said.

A decision on the application was deferred.

2 February 2006 Deferred application 20/491/05/FU came before the city centre plans panel again. The application was for a 10 storey student block called Opal 2 which would provide 554 student bed spaces. Freda Matthews, the chair of Little Woodhouse Community Association, spoke against the application. Councillor Graham Latty said that if they rejected the application, it would be “like closing the door after the horse has bolted.” The application was approved.
13 March 2006 In an article[166] entitled "Ghetto Blasters," the Yorkshire Evening Post reported that residents of the Leeds Federated Housing Association Homes on Belle Vue Road had to use net curtains at the windows to the rear of their houses to avoid having their rooms looked into by the student residents of the student blocks called "Triangle." The article quote Freda Matthews, the chair of Little Woodhouse Community Association as saying:
""The council has passed one application after another, seemingly without giving any consideration to the overall effect on this area of what is a huge development. Even the city architect John Thorp agreed at a recent meeting of the Hyde Park and Woodhouse Forum that it has taken them by surprise. These tower blocks are being built on tiny plots of land with no provision for green spaces. It's the worst form of overdevelopment I've ever seen. There's no retail provision and almost non-existent parking provision. Effectively, the council is creating a student ghetto on our doorstep."

Councillor Elizabeth Nash was quoted as saying:

"Eventually there are going to be 5,000 students there which is just overwhelming. "It's right that students should be dispersed from places like Headingley, but dispersed in the proper sense of the word and not concentrated in what I call townships like this one. I feel a great deal of sympathy for the existing residents and it's unfortunate that the other members could not envisage the problems my ward is now going to have."

Local resident Keith Shipley said:

""We knew nothing about it until it was too late.Now we're going to be overlooked by hundreds of people. All our neighbours are in a complete state over this but no one wants to move. These are our homes."
30 June 2006 The Times Higher Education Supplement published an article[167] by Jessica Shepherd entitled, "Student 'yobs' drive out locals:"
'Studentification' is creating ghettos and killing communities, Jessica Shepherd writes
MPs have told university heads that student ghettos are driving their constituents "up the wall".
Politicians and chairs of residents associations told vice-chancellors that they felt helpless faced with burgeoning student communities that encroached into the suburbs of their towns and cities.
They accused universities of passing the buck for students' antisocial behaviour and suggested they work more closely with the police to address the issue.
John Denham, Labour MP for Southampton Itchen, told the meeting at the House of Commons this week: "There has been a lack of willingness by universities to work with the police. I'm looking for a very strong commitment that that is going to change. Behaviour from yobs on a council estate becomes something different when it is done by students.
"I don't hear anything about the need to apply the same very hard-edged policing strategy with student behaviour that we apply when it comes to other behaviour.
"And when universities say, 'It is probably not our students', it drives us up the wall."
Rosie Cooper, Labour MP for West Lancashire, said universities were quick to deny that the young people causing trouble were students.
"Then how come the trouble is particularly bad in freshers' week and is reduced in the summer holidays?" she asked.
"The tipping point is when people say they are part of a campus, not a market town any more."
Maya Fletcher, from residents association Nottingham Action Group, told the meeting that the problem lay with landlords who bought entire neighbourhoods to rent to students.
She said: "The residents don't want to live surrounded by students. We are watching our community disintegrate."
A study published in January describes how students are turning residential areas into ghettos of "squalor and dereliction".
It says "studentification" could even trigger school closures as boisterous undergraduates drove out families with their parties and late-night drinking.
It highlights Leeds, Nottingham, Loughborough and Belfast as particular trouble hot spots.
Darren Smith of Brighton University, the author of the study, told the MPs and vice-chancellors: "Studentification is becoming an international phenomenon.
"In Australia, Canada and Ireland, students also cluster in particular areas, and universities are increasingly seeking to enable purpose-built communities to accommodate students.
"In some contexts, this has led to the emergence of student 'ghettos' where students can be isolated from locals and not fully immersed in the local community."
But Universities UK, the lobby group for vice-chancellors that hosted the meeting, was quick to point out the positive impact students had on communities.
Diana Green, vice-chancellor of Sheffield Hallam University, said the presence of students sparked regeneration and improved transport links.
7 December 2006 Two planning applications were considered by the city centre plans panel to build tower blocks in Little Woodhouse. This fist was an application to build a hotel, offices and non-student accommodation on the former Charlie Brown's site. It was very nearly rejected for the following reasons given by Councillor Minkin:
  • This area is vulnerable to being completely ruined
  • You’re looking at this area site by site
  • This is not what planning in this city should be about
  • Is there any reference to the existing character of this area?
  • You’re perpetuating mistakes
  • How does it link to the city centre?
  • You can’t have it both ways
  • It looks like a joke but a very unfortunate joke
  • We can’t carry out our responsibilities and give planning permission for this
  • You have your vision for the area but we and the local people haven’t
  • Opal 1 etc were a mistake x 100
  • Should be refused until the city decides what it wants for this area

What Councillor Minkin meant when she said “You can’t have it both ways” was that the Development Department is happy to treat this area as part of the city centre for the purposes of allowing tall buildings that are closer together than would be allowed outside of the city centre, but not happy to draw up a development plan for the area as you’d expect for a part of the city centre, or ensure that buildings were of the quality you would expect in the city centre.

It was only intervention by Councillor Graham Latty that prevented the panel rejecting the application. He said that if it were rejected for the reasons given by Councillor Minkin, then the site might never be developed, and so they deferred their decision until next time The civic architect said that he took Councillor Minkin's comments personally, and promised he would let them see a plan he has for the area but warned that it’s not a conventional plan (this never happened).

The second application was to build student flats on the RSPCA site and it was rejected on the grounds that it would be over-development of the site. The week before, Plans Panel (West) had rejected an application to build a student tower block on the Perseverance Mills site in Woodhouse. On that occasion, the planning department had recommended rejection on the basis that it was over-intensive development of the site. That was for 634 bedspaces on 0.7 hectares. If the RSPCA application had been approved, it would have resulted in a bedspace density three and a half times what was considered unacceptable by the planning department at the Perseverance Mills site (since the RSPCA proposal was for in excess of 425 bedspaces on a site of 0.15 hectares).

7 February 2008 On 7 February 2008, plans panel councillors refused to grant an application by a builder to remove a prohibition on student development on the former St Anne's Primary School site in Little Woodhouse. I had attended the meeting, and on 11 February I emailed[168] a friend and told him about the result:
"The St Anne’s Primary School site beside Woodhouse Square is currently vacant. Planning permission was granted in early 2005 for about 72 flats to be built on the site. A condition was attached to the approval, that the flats must not be occupied by students. A few months ago, the owner of the site applied to have the condition removed. At the City Centre Plans Panel, last Thursday afternoon, Councillor Nash spoke eloquently of the problems experienced by the Marlborough residents as a result of the high numbers of students in the area, and said she receives a constant stream of complaints about the problem. She said that when the original approval was granted in early 2005, the student village hadn’t been constructed and that it’s construction meant that it would now be inappropriate to have any more students in the area. She said that the St Anne’s Primary School site was ideally suited for family accommodation and that there are schools not too far away. The application was refused. This was a very important decision Phil. The developer was very strongly supported by the Development Department. If we’d lost, it would have made it seem like the victory on the RSPCA site was a one-off. But now, thanks to Councillor Nash, people seem to have at last accepted that we have far too many students in the area and that to build any more student accommodation would be madness."

The councillors' decision was also recorded by the Yorkshire Evening Post[169] which reported the following statements by councillors.

Coun Elizabeth Nash (Lab, City and Hunslet) said: "I would be against removal of this restriction. Students have to live somewhere but they should be spread throughout the city.

"This is an ideal site for family accommodation." Coun James Monaghan (Lib Dem, Headingley) said: "If we remove this condition these flats will be primarily occupied by students. There are already problems of noise and litter in the area and this condition should stay in place.”

Coun Graham Latty (Con, Guiseley and Rawdon) said: "There is already ample student accommodation in the area.”

15 August 2008 The Yorkshire Evening Post[170] reported a councillor had said at a city centre plans panel meeting which the previous day had considered an application to build a student block on the former RSPCA site in Little Woodhouse:
"Coun Monaghan said he objected because of the cumulative impact of having so much accommodation for students in one area. He said: "There's no point in moving students away from Headingley and creating another high-density student area elsewhere."
5 April 2011 Notes[171] of a meeting between representatives of Little Woodhouse Community Association and the council's community planning officer, Ryan Platten, contain the following statement:
“The behaviour of some of the residents of the student tower blocks is having a very negative effect on the quality of life of permanent and other residents hereabouts. Almost every night from about 10.45 onwards, and sometimes earlier than this, we are disturbed by rowdyism from large and small groups of drunken students. My neighbours’ young daughter has to sleep at the rear of the house, because the noise at the front of the house from students causes her so much upset. It’s like listening to a riot in progress. This noise is frequently accompanied by the repeated blowing of car horns”.
10 May 2011 A meeting took place between representatives of Little Woodhouse Community Association, the council's community planning officer, Ryan Platten, and representatives of developer Breslin Properties. The meeting was to discuss Breslin Properties proposal to build an 8 storey student block on the small triangle of land between 46 Burley Street and the Concept Place student block. The proposed development would create 104 student bed spaces. The notes[172] of the meeting contain the following statement:

The Principle of Student Housing.
  1. The LWCA representatives all made reference to the adverse impact of the existing student population in this area, expressed as:
  • Anti-social behaviour (and the seeming lack of policenterest in this). Reference was also made to the intimidating nature of the behviour of groups of drunk male students congregating around the entrance to the large blocks on Burley Road;
  • Noise from within the existing student blocks at unsocial hours (reference to Mark Freer at LCC Environmental Health for information on complaints, although LWCA representatives were sceptical about the usefulness of this given their likely lack of interest in this or recording of complaints);
  • Problems with the level of taxi movement at certain times of the day and night, resulting in local congestion, traffic hazards and external noise. Specific stopping facilities for taxis were needed;
  • The visual impact of existing student blocks on the character of the area and the lack of infrastructure to support them, especially open space and landscaping around the buildings.
  1. The prevailing view of the LWCA was that the area was at over capacity for this form of development and further student housing should be resisted. Council Members had reinforced this view through a recent application decision. It was noted that there were two other proposals for the RSPCA site and on the site of the former furniture repository next door.
15 February 2012 At the Little Woodhouse Community Association AGM, the chief executive of Unipol, Martin Blakey gave a presentation based on a study[9] commissioned by Unipol and said that the study had shown that Little Woodhouse now has 4,500 students. He said that this means that there is a very good case for saying "Enough is enough."

Following the meeting, a Little Woodhouse Community Association committee member recorded her thoughts[173] about what Mr Blakey had said and how it related to a proposal to build student blocks at 27 Burley Road:

"Four and a half thousand students living and moving around the few acres of Little Woodhouse will have an enormous impact on the local community.
"Already we experience high levels of anti-social behaviour particularly late evening and in the early hours of the morning. The area is no longer considered viable for family living which reduces the value of properties of those who have invested in the area. Increased noise, traffic and rubbish pollution are inevitable with very little money spent in the area by students or indeed the council to improve infrastructure (ref. footbridge between Clarendon Road and Great George Street).
"Regardless of the fact that 27 Burley Road is situated in the City and Hunslet area, it is the Little Woodhouse Community who bear the impact of all the students, since their desire lines from university campus to their home as well as clubs, bars (The Fenton, The Faversham, and city centre) take them through The Kendals; The Consorts; Hanover and Woodhouse Squares Clarendon Road and The Marlboroughs Estate.
"People may want to get rid of students from the LS6 area but ghettoising them in Little Woodhouse is not the correct solution to the problem. This is something that planners and councillors need to sit down and consider before they take yet more money from developers for endless housing blocks that may well end up empty and boarded up in the next few years. The Burley Road slums of tomorrow!"
16 February 2012 A presentation was given at the Swarthmore Centre in Little Woodhouse by Manor Property Group of their proposal to build student blocks[174] at 27 Burley Road that would provide 451 student bed spaces. The developer said that students would not be allowed to bring in girlfriends/boyfriends after a certain time of night, and that parents would be able to tell if their child was at home in their flat.
23 February 2012 I accompanied a deputation of Little Woodhouse residents to a meeting of Leeds City Council's North West (Inner) Area Committee and gave the following speech:[175]
"According to figures released by Unipol, students now constitute 75% of the population of Little Woodhouse. This is higher than any other part of the city. The concentration of so many students in one place encourages high levels of anti-social behaviour. Every night, we are wakened by noisy students on their way home from the clubs and bars in town. We are also disturbed by noise from the crowds of students who congregate outside the massive Opal 1 student block. It’s only a small minority of students who cause problems, but a small minority of a very large number is itself a very large number.
Getting something done about the noise has proved impossible. The council's noise nuisance team only responds to complaints about noise that emanates from within premises. They don't even register complaints made about noise on the streets. And the police don’t want to know about noise nuisance on the streets.
The entire problem has been caused by the planning department. It was their decision to allow student tower blocks to be built here that increased student numbers by several thousand. Their aim was to get students out of Headingley. But all they’ve done is to move a problem from one place to another.
And now the planning department is considering allowing even more student tower blocks in Little Woodhouse. They are currently in talks with developers about allowing two eight storey blocks on the other side of the Belle Vue Road from two storey terrace housing.
Government planning guidance, PPS1 states: ‘Development plans should promote development that creates socially inclusive communities, including suitable mixes of housing.’ But here in Leeds, the planning department is creating a ghetto right on our doorstep.
Leeds planning guidance “Neighbourhoods for Living” states that buildings lower down a hill shouldn’t be higher than building further up the hill. But the planning department is content to allow tower blocks lower down the hill from Belle Vue Road, to tower over terrace houses further up the hill.
The Kirkstall Road Renaissance Area Planning Framework published in January 2007 states, “The current proposals at various stages of progress are all for residential purposes: high-density cluster flats, including purpose built student accommodation. Therefore, the remaining potential redevelopment sites should only be developed for a non-residential purpose. In addition, further applications which create dominance of a particular tenure, such as student accommodation would not be acceptable.” But the planning department acts as if the Planning Framework didn’t exist.
In a March 2006 Yorkshire Evening Post article, Councillor Elizabeth Nash said,"It's right that students should be dispersed from places like Headingley, but dispersed in the proper sense of the word and not concentrated in what I call townships like this one.”
Please support the people of Little Woodhouse in our struggle to hold on to what's left of our quality of life. Please vote now to write to the development department and to say to them, in the words of Martin Blakey, 'Enough is enough.'"

Item 60 of the official minutes[176] of the meeting records that the councillors resolved:

  1. To welcome and support the Deputation from residents of the Little Woodhouse community.
  2. That the Chair of the Planning Sub Group be requested to write, on behalf of the Committee to the Chief Planning Officer suggesting that further student housing development in the city centre would threaten the residential amenity of the area.

The minutes of the meeting record the fact that the councillors present included Neil Walshaw. At the meeting of the city centre plans panel on 28 July 2016 which considered the 46 Burley Street application, Councillor Walshaw said that he seconded what Councillor Colin Campbell had said about needing to speak up for students and how they should not be demonised. At the meeting of the city centre centre plans panel on 8 December 2016, Councillor Walshaw voted along with other councillors, to approve the 46 Burley Street application. When I asked Councillor Walshaw by email why he had voted as he had, he said in his reply[137] that 46 Burley Street was the right location for a student block, and that it would help get students out of Headingley. If students must not be demonised, which is the position that Councillor Walshaw supported on 28 July 2016, it's difficult to understand why he's so keen to get them out of Headingley. It seems that Councillor Walshaw says and does whatever suits him at any particular moment in time.

30 August 2012 At a meeting of the city centre plans panel, councillors were presented with a pre-application proposal to build a student block on the former St Anne's Primary School site that would have provided 223 student bed spaces. The planning officer's report[177] suggested that planning officers supported the application. Draft minutes of the meeting were presented to the next meeting of the plans panel on 27 September 2012. Councillors refused to agree the draft minutes[178] of the 30 August meeting as they contained a resolution relating to the St Anne's Primary School application which made no mention of the concern that councillors had expressed about the principle of student accommodation on the site. And so new minutes[179] were approved which contained a re-worded resolution. The re-worded resolution read as follows:
"That there were serious concerns as to whether a high density student accommodation scheme was appropriate in this sensitive heritage setting in close proximity to a number of listed buildings. If the scheme was to be progressed then the design quality would need to be significantly improved with a greater sensitivity to context and scale which also addressed issues raised about the relationship to existing housing to the north on Back Claremont Grove."
September 2012 Leeds University in conjunction with Leeds City Council, West Yorkshire Police and Leeds Metropolitan University published the "Burley Road Student Accommodation Action Plan."[180] The plan's introduction stated:
"The following multiagency plan seeks to address resident concerns involving litter, noise and anti-social behaviour in the communities surrounding the Burley Road student accommodation blocks."
November 2012 In relation to noise nuisance from the Little Woodhouse Student Village, West Yorkshire Police's "Neighbourhood News"[181] for Ward 19 reported the following:

Our Local Priorities in your Neighbourhood:
Noise nuisance - Burley Road / Little Woodhouse 10pm-12.30am.
High visbility patrols have been conducted in the area and there have been no further complaints.
In addition a door to door survey has been conducted around Burley Road regarding the noise issues from pedestrians and traffic. The results are currently being looked at by the Police and our partner agencies to look at solutions.
February 2013 In relation to noise nuisance from the Little Woodhouse Student Village, West Yorkshire Police's "Neighbourhood News"[182] for Ward 19 reported the following:

Our Local Priorities in your Neighbourhood:
Noise nuisance - Burley Rd/Little Woodhouse 10pm-12.30am.
The current PACT priority of noise nuisance seems to have sorted itself out, as we have received fewer calls of late.
December 2014 Paragraph 3.2.4[183] on page 3 of Leeds City Council’s report[184] “Accommodation for Students and impacts on residential neighbourhoods” published in December 2014, states:
"Adjacent to Hyde Park is Little Woodhouse, itself adjacent to the large-scale building of Purpose Built Student Accommodation along Burley Road. While this accommodation has enabled students to move from shared HMO housing in Hyde Park and Central Headingley, there have been impacts for the people living in Little Woodhouse.”
24 March 2016 At paragraph 9.2[185] of the planning officer’s report[186] dated 24 March 2016 which recommended approval of the proposed City Reach development on the south side of Kirkstall Road, it said of the 234 bed space student block that was included in the proposed development:
"The site is a considerable distance away from the traditional residential areas to the north and so the presence of students as part of this scheme is not expected to have a detrimental impact on the amenity of residents in those areas.”

This is an admission that student blocks located closer to the traditional residential areas to the north, such as the 46 Burley Street development, would have a detrimental impact on the amenity of residents in those areas.

10 December 2016 On 9 December 2016, I emailed Councillor Neil Walshaw (Labour, Headingley) and asked him why he had changed his mind (since the meeting of the plans panel on 8 September 2016) and decided to support application 16/01322/FU to build a student block at 46 Burley Street. In his reply[187] dated 10 September 2016, he said, "I was never against the application in principle but had concerns over its design. You will also remember I had questions over viability. The Workshop & subsequent changes satisfied my design concerns & strategically additional PBSA is a lever to potentially free up housing in Headingley. I was therefore able to see it pass. A key issue here is that this was PBSA in the right location whereas the Victoria Rd student village was the wrong location & we achieved a significant victory in its defeat."

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Officers claimed that the Core Strategy supports Application 14/01322/FU

At paragraph 9.1.1 of the officer’s report[36] dated 28 July 2016 it states,"With regard to the Kirkstall Road Renaissance Area Planning Framework (an informal SPG with limited weight) this advises against further residential development in the City Heights area. However, the City Heights area identified in this document is still predominantly commercial in nature. This document does not benefit from as much weight as the NPPF or the Core Strategy, and does not form part of the Development Plan. The Core Strategy is also more recent and was subject to more thorough public examination."

In this manner, planning officers conveyed that the Core Strategy[139]supports student housing on the application site. But as we’ve already seen, at paragraph 5.1.14[138] on page 62 of the Core Strategy,[139] it states, "The City Centre remains a good location for purpose built student housing, but excessive concentrations in one area should be avoided in line with Policy H6." Policy H6(B)(iii) on page 76[11] of the Core Strategy[139] states, "Development proposals for purpose built student accommodation will be controlled: To avoid excessive concentrations of student accommodation (in a single development or in combination with existing accommodation) which would undermine the balance and wellbeing of communities.” The Kirkstall Road Renaissance Area Planning Framework has already established that there is an excessive concentration of student accommodation in this area.

Failure to Reject Application 14/03735/FU in February 2015 on the Principle of Student Accommodation

At the plans panel meeting on 28 July 2016 which considered planning application 16/01322/FU, in response to a concern raised by Councillor Peter Gruen about having students on the site (see pages 10 and 11 of the transcript[49] of the plans panel meeting of 28 July 2016), the Chief Planning Officer Tim Hill said that since they hadn’t considered the issue of student accommodation when they rejected planning application 14/03735/FU, it would be very difficult for them to consider it in relation to application 16/01322/FU. (see page 12<transjuly12></ref> of the verbatim transcript[49] of the plans panel meeting of 28 July 2016). The minutes[3] of the plans panel meeting held on 12 February 2015 made no mention of the student housing issue. However, my notes[3] of the meeting show that Councillor Peter Gruen did raise the issue, and received a long obfuscating response from planning officer Daljit Singh.

Whilst it’s true that application 14/03735/FU was not rejected on the ground that the purpose of the application was to build student accommodation, failure to include student housing as a reason for rejection, does not necessarily establish the principle of student housing on the site, and even if it did, it does not establish it for all time. Between application 14/03735 being rejected on 14 February 2015 and application 16/01322/FU being discussed by the city centre plans panel on 28 July 2016, two other applications had been approved for purpose built student accommodation in the area. Application 13/04862/FU for 320 student bed spaces was approved on 6 March 2015 and application 15/06844/OT for 234 student bed spaces was approved on 14 July 2016. These were material changes which should have been taken into account in planning officer Chris Briggs's report[36] dated 28 July 2016 and when application 16/01322/FU was being considered by councillors at the plans panels on 28 July 2016, 8 September 2016 and 8 December 2016. At paragraph 10.1.3[188] on page 8 of a report[189] dated 9 October 2014, planning officer Chris Briggs quoted paragraph 24[190] from page 10 of the national guidance note[191] entitled “Greater flexibility for planning permissions” which states, “Local planning authorities may refuse applications to extend the time limit for permissions where changes in the development plan or other relevant material considerations indicate the proposal should no longer be treated favourably.” If relevant changes can be used as basis for refusing to renew an existing application, they can surely be used to refuse a new application.

Long-Standing Officer Support for Student Accommodation at 46 Burley Street

The problem with the issue of student accommodation at 46 Burley Street being ignored, appears to have originated with planning officer Chris Briggs. When I spoke on the phone to Chris Briggs in Autumn 2005 about planning 20/419/05/FU submitted on 1 September 2005 for a 14 storey student block on the site, he told me he would only accept 8 storeys on the site. He didn’t say he wouldn’t accept students. Indigo Planning state at paragraph 1.11[192] on page 1 of their planning statement[22] dated June 2014 in support of application 14/03735/FU, "Case officer e-mails of 17 September 2012 and 1 February 2013 confirm that the principle of student housing here is considered acceptable, with support also for convenience retail on the ground floor.” So, planning officer Chris Briggs had told the developer that student accommodation was acceptable on this site almost two years before application 14/03735/FU was submitted in June 2014 and well over two years before application 14/03735/FU was decided on 14 February 2015. Unfortunately, I missed this admission at the time and only spotted it last week. I did however spot at the time an admission contained at paragraph 1.5[193] on page 1 of Indigo Planning's Retail Statement[194] dated October 2014, which stated, "The proposed larger retail unit has been subject to further discussions with both the planning and policy officers (Chris Briggs and Robin Coughlan) who were supportive of the proposal given it complies with emerging Core Strategy Policy P4." In my email[195] dated 14 November 2014 objecting to a revision of planning application 14/03735/FU, I complained that this admission meant that the planning officers had decided to support the application in advance of the deadline for submission of comments.

Paragraph 4.7[196] on page 8 of Indigo Planning's Planning Statement[23] dated February 2016 attached to application 16/01322/FU states, "The principle of student accommodation was previously considered acceptable in this location, and there are no changes in circumstance which would warrant reaching a different conclusion.” But as we have already seen, the principle of student accommodation had only been agreed by planning officers, and by February 2016 planning application 13/04862/FU had been approved (on 6 March 2015) for 320 student bed spaces. So the claim made by the developer at paragraph 4.7 of his Planning Statement was incorrect at the time it was made in February 2016. The claim became even more incorrect after planning application 15/06844/OT for 234 bed spaces was approved on 14 July 2016.

Former Policy on Student Accommodation

Close-up of the south-east section of the map of the Area of Housing Mix

The Leeds Unitary Development Plan (Review 2006)[197] was adopted by Leeds City Council on 19 July 2006. The council's former policy on student accommodation was set out at paragraphs H15 and H15A[198] on pages 172, 173 and 174 of the document. Policy H15 defined the type of development which would be acceptable with a defined Area of Housing Mix. It stated, "Within the area of housing mix planning permission will be granted for housing intended for occupation by students, or for the alteration, extension or redevelopment of accommodation currently so occupied where, (i) the stock of housing accommodation, including that available for family occupation, would not be unacceptably reduced in terms of quantity and variety, (ii) there would be no unacceptable effects on neighbours’ living conditions including through increased activity, or noise and disturbance, either from the proposal itself or combined with existing similar accommodation, (iii) the scale and character of the proposal would be compatible with the surrounding area, (iv) satisfactory provision would be made for car parking, and (v) the proposal would improve the quality or variety of the stock of student housing."

The close-up seen on the right of that part of the map[199] of the Area of Housing Mix, shows that the south western boundary of the Area of Housing Mix ran along Burley Road. The close-up also shows that the 46 Burley Street site was on the boundary of the Area of Housing Mix.

Policy H15A stated, "The council will work with the universities and with accommodation providers to promote student housing developments in other areas by identifying and bringing forward for development sites that would satisfy the criteria set out below, (i) have good connections by public transport to the universities, either existing or to be provided to serve the development; or be close enough to enable easy travel on foot or by cycle, (ii) be attractive to students to live and of sufficient scale to form a viable student community, either in themselves, or in association with other developments, (iii) be well integrated into the surrounding area in terms of scale, character and associated services and facilities, (iv) contribute directly to the regeneration of the surrounding area, preferably as part of comprehensive planning proposals, and (v) not unacceptably affect the quality, quantity or variety of the local housing stock."

At the plans panel meeting on 28 July 2016, when Simon Grundy from Indigo Planning's spoke, he ignored the fact that our local councillor had objected to the proposal, and the objections from the two local community associations and the Civic Trust, and made much of the fact that only two local residents had objected. He even suggested that this meant other residents supported the planning application. On my way home after the meeting, I walked all round the site and along the roads that lead to the site. There were no yellow planning notices to be seen anywhere. People can only object to applications they know about.

Height and Bulk

Stepping Down the Slope

Stepping Down the Slope.jpg

In 2003, Leeds City Council produced a document called “Neighbourhoods for Living.” It has the status of Supplementary Planning Guidance. New editions were published in 2007 and 2015.[39] In 2015, the council also published “Neighbourhoods for Living - Memoranda to 3rd Edition 2015”[200] which explains the importance of Neighbourhoods for Living. On page 42[54] of Neighbourhoods for Living, there is set out the principle of “Stepping Down the Slope.” This is the principle that buildings lower down a hillside, should not tower over buildings higher up the hillside. The image on the left illustrates the principle, and has been extracted from page 42 of Neighbourhoods for Living.[39]

The application site is on a hill which slopes gently from south east to north west and steeply from north east to south west. There were objections to the application on the ground that the proposed development would not step down the slope. Planning officers maintained that the development would step down the slope. Paragraph 9.2.4[51] of the planning officer's report[36] to plans panel dated 28 July 2016 states, ". . .the stepping down of buildings heights would be in line with the topography of the area." On page 3[55] of the verbatim transcript[56] of the 8 December 2016 city centre plans panel meeting, planning officer Chris Briggs is shown as having stated, "And in previous key views that we’ve identified in the past relating to the sorting office along Park Lane stepping down clearly as the topography changes. . ."

But the stepping down that planning officers referred to was only from south east to north west. This enabled them to use the height of an adjacent former sorting office as the starting point in terms of height for the stepping down from south east to north west. Officers ignored the fact that there was no stepping down from north east to south west. If there had been stepping down from north east to south west, the proposed development would have had to have been lower than the height of terraced houses on Kendal Walk. Planning officers were applying the principle of stepping down the slope, but applying it selectively. This indicates that they recognised that stepping down the slope is an important issue. However, they confused councillors into thinking that there is indeed stepping down the slope with this application, when there is only stepping down the slope from south east to north west, and not from north east to south west. But not all councillors seem to have been confused. At the plans panel meeting on 28 July 2016, Councillor David Blackburn said, "I must say I have sympathy with what Mr Hellawell said about this building. I mean, quite clearly, from the one we turned down, on one side, it’s got higher, and it’s less stepped. And I’m sure if it was stepped, part of the things about the vistas and that, would be dealt with. It also would not look as bulky as that. So I just think it’s still too excessive." (see page 11[57] of the transcript[49] of the plans panel meeting of 28 Jul 2016). And the notes[58] of the secret workshop that took place on 1 November 2016 show that Councillor Latty said that the building should step down not from east to west, but from north to south. What he meant when he said "north to south" was actually "north east to south west." (see the top of the second page of the notes[58] of the secret workshop which took place on 1 November 2016) .

Planning officers also tried to suggest that the principle of stepping down the slope referred to a building's characteristics taken in isolation to surrounding buildings. Page 4[59] of the verbatim transcript[49] of the 28 July city centre plans panel meeting shows planning officer Chris Briggs stating, "This view shows the proposal stepping down from the sorting office towards the west." Page 2[60] of the verbatim transcript[61] of the 8 September 2016 plans panel meeting shows Chris Briggs stating, "From this image you can see the stepping of the form down. . ." Paragraph 2.2[62] of the planning officer's report[63] to plans panel dated 8 December 2016 states, "At the upper level, at the western end of the Park Lane elevation, a flat has been relocated to create a larger set back, to emphasise the “stepping down” at that end of the building." Page 2[55] of the verbatim transcript[56] of the 8 December city centre plans panel meeting shows planning officer Chris Briggs as having stated:

"This is the refused scheme with what the inspector termed the blade element here standing proud of the sorting office, at 9 storeys stepping down to 4. In September, we saw these images here, with a lower form than the sorting office, stepping down. And then, this is the current scheme, noting the parapet height slightly lower, again stepping down. So we can see that reduction in height sitting better in the surrounding built form of the area. This slide shows the scheme in relation to that built form in a bit closer detail. This from Belle Vue Road looking down the housing at Kendal Walk here, Oak House office building, the sorting office, just showing in a bit closer detail how the form steps down to 5 storeys at the eastern end of the building, and down again at the western end. And a bird’s-eye view which just shows that in a bit closer definition of how the stepping form of the roof changes."

Page 3[55] of the verbatim transcript[56] of the 8 December 2016 city centre plans panel meeting shows planning officer Chris Briggs as having stated:

"This is the revised proposal, again showing the articulation and form around the top of the building particularly, and along the back breaking up what was a long run of red brick, especially when combined in view with the sorting office. That’s now broken up with the vertical emphasis in the zinc cladding and stepping down. A flat has been re- positioned here which creates a larger step at the western end. That’s another view from September. And then again, the view changed with the revised details showing how that clearer, larger step down at the western end bringing the building form down with the topography. And finally, this slide shows one of the views that members picked up on on the site visit. From the blank gable of the houses accessed off Hanover Avenue. The existing view as shown in those images, and with the building shown in, noting the stepping down in built form of the proposal."

The Site Allocations Plan

The Site Allocations Plan is a document intended to be used with the Core Strategy. It designates sites across Leeds according to how the council would like the sites to be used. The Site Allocations Plan has not been adopted and is currently at draft stage. Before it can be adopted, it must be recommended for approval by an inspector appointed by the government. The Draft Site Allocations Plan is still with Leeds City Council and has not been submitted to an inspector for consideration.

Number of Units at 46 Burley Street
Core Strategy Requirement > 8
Site Allocations Plan Requirement 48
Proposed by application 14/03735/FU 113
Proposed by application 16/01322/FU 87

The Draft Site Allocations Plan[33] states on page 11[34] that 46 Burley Street has capacity for 48 units. This is the same number of units decided by the Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment Partnership in 2008.[88] And yet the proposed development is for 87 units, almost twice as many. Paragraph 9.7.1[35] on page 15 of the officer’s report[36] dated 28 July 2016 dismisses the Site Allocations Plan figure of 48 units by saying, "The site allocations makes provision for 48 units on this site which is an estimate based on a formula and is not prescriptive of the actual number that should be achieved.” Paragraph 9.7.1 also states, "The site lies within the designated City Centre, where under the Core Strategy housing development is required to be built at a density of at least 65 dwellings per hectare” and "In practice the nature of flatted accommodation in the City Centre has often resulted in residential densities significantly in excess of 65 dwellings per hectare." The clear implication of paragraph 9.7.1 is that the number of units proposed for 46 Burley Street is based on a prescription contained in the Core Strategy, rather than the formula used by the Strategic Housing Land Availabilty Assessment Partnership and the Draft Site Allocations Plan, which is not prescriptive. This is a further example of planning officers' use of confusing language. Paragraph 2.1[37] on page 2 of the officer’s report[36] dated 28 July 2016 states that the 46 Burley Street site covers approximately 0.13 hectares. This means that to comply with the the Core Strategy’s requirement that city centre sites should exceed 65 units per hectare, there should be more than 8 units on the site (65 x 0.13 = 8.45). So the Core Strategy requirement would be met by having 9 units on the site. The proposed figure of 87 units is almost ten times the minimum prescribed by the Core Strategy. The purpose of paragraph 9.7.1 appears to have been to dismiss the importance of the figure of 48 units. It does this by stating that the formula used was not prescriptive, and implying that the figure of 48 units does not meet the requirement of the Core Strategy, whereas the figure of 87 units does. In fact, both figures would meet the Core Strategy requirement, as would a figure of 9 units. But this was not made clear.

Whilst it’s true that 46 Burley Street is inside the designated city centre, it is only just inside the boundary, and is on the other side of the road from 2 storey terraced houses which are not in the designated city centre. Under such circumstances, some might consider it unreasonable to strictly apply the Core Strategy’s requirement that more than 9 units should be built on the site.

Kirkstall Road Renaissance Area Planning Framework

At paragraph 2.1 of a council report[201] published on the 29th June 2006 about the Kirkstall Road Renaissance Area Planning Framework,[4] it states that when it’s published, the Kirkstall Road Renaissance Area Planning Framework[4] will not be adopted as Supplementary Planning Guidance. Paragraph 2.1 also states, "The framework document sets out key principles and options for the redevelopment of land and buildings." Paragraph 2.4 identifies the opportunity, "To plan the area in a co-coordinated and comprehensive manner, avoiding fragmented, unrelated development." Paragraph 5.3 says of the Framework, "it merely provides detailed interpretation of adopted policy in relation to potential redevelopment in the area.”

The Kirkstall Road Renaissance Area Planning Framework[4] was published on the 18 January 2007. At paragraph 1.1 it states, "It sets out key principles and options for redevelopment of land and buildings and will be used by the City Council as a reference document against which submitted proposals and planning applications will be considered.”

Paragraph 6.1[202] on page 5 of the officer’s report[36] dated 28 July 2016 states in support of the proposal to close Rutland Mount to through traffic, "The Kirkstall Road Area Planning Framework proposes Rutland Mount to be improved to be a ‘Green Access Link’ for north-south non-motorised movements.” Presumably, officers were using the Kirkstall Road Renaissance Area Planning Framwork to support the developer’s proposal to close Rutland Mount to through traffic to overcome a problem raised in an email[203] dated 18 October 2013 from the council's Transport Development Services officer Richard Webster to planning officer Chris Briggs. This email was contained in a bundle of documents[92] obtained on 14 February 2017 under the Freedom of Information Act. At paragraph 4 of the email, Richard Webster stated:

"On the LCC Kirkstall Road APF Plan 8 for Area 4 there are strong aspirations for Rutland Mount to be improved to be a ‘Green Access Link’ for north-south non-motorised movements. Rutland Mount is currently surfaced using stone sets, has no TRO along its length so will suffer from commuter parking problems during the week if the development was built, and is unattractive for pedestrians to use. It is therefore considered that the applicant should be converting Rutland Mount into a footway with pedestrian guardrail at the end of Rutland Mount on Burley Street to prevent vehicle access, particularly if the main pedestrian access for the student flats and studios is taken from Rutland Mount."

However, to overcome the problem for the developer created by paragraph 4.4.2 on page 20 of the Kirkstall Road Renaissance Planning Framework[4] which states that there should be no residential or student development on the application site, because there’s already been so much in the area, and to also overcome the objection that a strategic view would be blocked by the development, something which is made clear by Plan 4 of the Kirkstall Road Renaissance Planning Framework,[4] the planning officers state the following at paragraph 7.2[204] on page 9 of the planning officer’s report[36] dated 28 July 2016, "The Kirkstall Road Renaissance Area Planning Framework 2007 is informal supplementary planning guidance, and whilst it is a material consideration, it has little weight compared to the weight of policies comprising the Development Plan.”

And at paragraph 9.1.1[205] on page 10 of the officer’s report dated 28 July 2016, it states, "With regard to the Kirkstall Road Renaissance Area Planning Framework (an informal SPG with limited weight) this advises against further residential development in the City Heights area. However, the City Heights area identified in this document is still predominantly commercial in nature. This document does not benefit from as much weight as the NPPF or the Core Strategy, and does not form part of the Development Plan. The Core Strategy is also more recent and was subject to more thorough public examination."

If the Kirkstall Road Renaissance Area Planning Framework carries so little weight, and is therefore something planning officers can ignore from the point of view of allowing another student block in the area, then why are they relying on it for support for the developer’s proposal to close Rutland Mount to traffic?

Also, planning officers are trying to convey that the Core Strategy[139] supports student housing on the applications site. In fact, at paragraph 5.1.14[138] on page 62 of the Core Strategy,[139] it states, "The City Centre remains a good location for purpose built student housing, but excessive concentrations in one area should be avoided in line with Policy H6.” Policy H6(B)(iii) on page 76 of the Core Strategy states, "Development proposals for purpose built student accommodation will be controlled: To avoid excessive concentrations of student accommodation (in a single development or in combination with existing accommodation) which would undermine the balance and wellbeing of communities.” The Kirkstall Road Renaissance Area Planning Framework has already established that there’s an excessive concentration of student accommodation in this area.

Concept House

The Concept House planning application is of interest as the site is just up the road from the 46 Burley Street site, and it too was for a student block.

In December 2003, outline planning application 20/447/03/FU was submitted by RMP Properties to build a part 9, part 13 storey block on a triangle of land between Belle Vue Road and Park Lane. The proposed development would have provided 491 bed spaces. Paragraph 4.1.4 of the report[206] to plans panel west on 19 February 2004 stated:

"The vehicular and pedestrian entrances to the building, as well as the commercial uses, are all on its southern elevation, on the opposite side of the building to the existing residential uses. This will focus any noise associated with arrivatlloepartures to this side of the building."

Councillors decided to reject the application, and asked planning officers to come back with reasons for refusal. A report[207] presented to the panel at its next meeting on 22 April 2004, gave the following possible reasons for refusal:

  1. The proposed development, by reason of its height, rising to 13 storeys, and its massing, would prove an inappropriate and over-dominant development within the area, to the detriment of the visual amenities of the area, and the residential amenity of nearby existing properties, contrary to advice in PPGl and UDP Policy GPS and BD5.
  2. The proposed development, providing 506 bed spaces in 134 cluster flats, an A1 and A3 unit, is considered to be an over-development of the site in view of the limited provision of parking spaces (16). This proposal may therefore result in the demand for on street parking in the area which would prove detrimental to amenity, residential amenity and traffic and pedestrian safety, contrary to UDP Policy GP5.
  3. The proposed development will result in a further 506 student bed spaces in the area. When considered with the existing student accommodation occupied, under construction, or with planning permission in the area, it is considered that this additional concentration of student accommodation in the area would prove detrimental to the residential amenities of the area, and contrary to the aims of Policy H15(ii) of the UDP, and the emerging revised Policy H15 and Policy H15a in the Revised Deposit UDP Review (Feb 2004).”

Officers added the following paragraphs:

"3.0 The above reasons have been prepared on Members instructions. However, officers have to emphasise that they consider the above reasons will be very difficult to sustain at appeal and Members are requested to consider the information contained in the parallel confidential report, which has been circulated, before determining the application."
"3.1 A letter from the agent for the scheme is attached to this report for consideration by Members and further visual material will be displayed at panel. 3.2 The development is considered to be in line with Central Government policies and does not, in officers views, conflict with the adopted policies of the UDP. Members are asked to take the above officer comments into consideration, as well as those contained in the confidential report, prior to determining the application."

Members of the public will have been asked to leave the room when the confidential report was read out. The report will have been written by the council’s legal department warning the councillors that if they persist in wanting to refuse the application, they will make the council liable for costs at appeal. This is a standard tactic used by planning officers to keep councillors in line.

Page 6 of the officer's report[27] to the plans panel at its next meeting on 8 June 2004, stated that at the 22 April meeting, councillors resolved:

  1. "That determination of the application be deferred in order that negotiations be held with the applicants to discuss a significant reduction of the scale and massing of the proposed development."
  2. "That should negotiations prove unsuccessful, the application be refused in line with the reasons set out in the previous report and outlined above.” The report went on to state that the application had been revised to reduce the height of the tallest element of the proposed building from 13 storeys to 10, and to reduce the height of the smaller element from 9 storeys to 7, and to bring the number of student bed spaces down from 491 to 362. The report also stated, “the tallest part of Block B is only 2-3m above the ridge of the residential properties in Kendal Walk."

Page 7 of the officer's report states:

"The entire building has been reduced in height and the information submitted in support of the revised scheme indicates the impact which this new height would have on the street scene and on surrounding residential properties. The revised cross-sections show that, due to the changes in level across the site, and the elevated position of the residential properties to the north, the top of the tallest part of Block B is only 2-3m above the ridge height of the residential properties in Kendal Walk, the nearest of which is 4Bm away and at an oblique angle. The remainder of the development is lower than this and drops down to between two and three storeys to the Belle Vue Rd frontage. The montages indicate that this reduces the impact on the Kendal Walk properties and the development presents no greater height to the frontage than the small blocks of flats which exist to the west on Belle Vue Rd."

A subsequent planning application 20/387/05/FU was given planning permission on 8 December 2005. An earlier report[208] to plans panel on 15 September 2005 stated:

"The vehicular and pedestrian entrances to the building, as well as the commercial uses, are all on its southern elevation, to Park Lane, on the opposite side of the building to existing residential uses. The layout and presentation of the two buildings including access-, servicing and parking is such that either building is capable of being built without the other."

Having access from Park Lane and no access from Belle Vue Road was so that residents on Belle Vue Road wouldn't be disturbed by taxis dropping off and picking up students and so that students would be unable to access the building from Belle Vue Road.

Loss of Strategic Views

Map extract from page 30 of the Kirkstall Road Renaissance Areas Planning Framework[4] showing strategic views from Belle Vue Road
This section shows that whilst planning officers originally objected to the five storeys facing Park Lane proposed by planning application 16/01322/FU (on the grounds that the views provided relief from taller buildings),[50] they later discounted the importance of these views.

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Belle Vue Road is named after Belle Vue House, a nearby Georgian villa, which gets its name from beautiful long distance views across the Aire Valley. Paragraph 2.4.1[40] on page 4 of the Kirkstall Road Renaissance Area Planning Framework[4] states, "As the area lies on the valley floor, there are a number of long distance views to and through the area from neighbouring higher ground - in particular, from public spaces in the residential area to the north (e.g. Belle Vue Road)." Objectors to planning applications 14/03735/FU and 16/01322/FU raised concerns that the proposed development at 46 Burley Street would lead to loss of views from Belle Vue Road across the Aire valley. The same concern was expressed by Councillor Al Garthwaite at the plans panel meeting on 28 July 2016 (see pages 9 and 10[48] of the verbatim transcript[49] of the 28 July plans panel meeting). But her response was dismissed by planning officer Daljit Singh who stated that no one has a right to a view, and that whilst there are strategic views which should be preserved, the view in question hadn’t been assessed (see pages 9 and 10[48] of the verbatim transcript[49] of the 28 July plans panel meeting).

Daljit Singh's opinion on the loss of views from Belle Vue Road that would result from the proposed development at 46 Burley Street, contrasts with the opinion expressed by planning officer Chris Briggs in a letter[50] (obtained under the Freedom of Information Act) which he sent to Simon Grundy of Indigo Planning on 17 November 2015. Mr Briggs said:

"Whilst there is no right to a view, the gap that currently exists (and previously existed with a lower warehouse building) is considered to offer relief from the taller buildings to the south for residential properties to the north of the site. However, whilst the loss of the ‘blade’ is welcomed, we note the height of the podium building across its full width has now increased to 5 storeys as viewed from Park Lane. This additional bulk may have an impact on the relationships to adjoining buildings, impact on the streetscene and the sense of enclosure and visual dominance from nearby properties. The potential visual dominance of a taller building filling this gap does need to be considered."
Strategic views that would be blocked by the proposed building
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Photo taken on 10 February 2017 showing the view from Kendal Walk across to the Great Valentine's Fair[209] [210] on Elland Road. The object in the centre of the photo is the illuminated ferris wheel.
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Photo taken on 9 March 2017 showing the view to St Bartholemew's Church in Armley. The church was designed in the Perpendicular Gothic style and opened in 1872. It is a grade 2 listed building.
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Photo taken on 16 March 2017 showing the view to Armley Jail. The jail opened in 1847 and is a grade 2 listed building. It was designed to look like a medieval castle.
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Photo taken on 18 March 2017 showing views across to Holbeck in the distance.

Paragraph 9.2.2[51] of the planning officer's report dated 28 July 2016[36] echoes the preceding paragraph. It states:

"In response to the appeal decision the applicant has now removed the 9-storey ‘blade’ element of the proposal, but has increased the height of the remaining podium element by one to two storeys along parts of the building facing Burley Street, stepping down towards the substation. The Inspector had commented that the original 4-storey podium element would closely relate to, and be in keeping with, the general character and appearance of the area. Also whilst there is no right to a view, the gap that currently exists (and previously existed with a lower warehouse building) is considered to offer relief from the taller buildings to the south for residential properties to the north of the site on Kendal Walk. Officers have therefore negotiated with the applicant a revision to the proposed massing that’s seeks to better complement the existing built scale and character of the area by creating a ‘stepping effect’, which follows the topography of Park Lane from the east down to the west."

In her Decision Notice,[211] the inspector who dismissed the appeal against rejection of planning application 14/03735/FU focussed on the 3 storey "blade" at the eastern end of the building. The inspector made clear why she focussed on the blade at paragraph 7 of the Decision Notice. She stated, "At the Hearing the Council’s witnesses confirmed that the Council’s main concerns were with the height, mass and width of the blade." My notes of the plans meeting of 12 February 2015 reveal that the only person who said that just the height of the blade was the problem, was Steve Butler, the head of Development Management. The inspector made no mention of the strategic views that would be blocked by the proposed development, presumably because this was not given as one of the reasons for refusal.

Paragraph 9.2.3[212] of the planning officer's report dated 28 July 2016[36] states:

"The taller element of the revised proposed building would be of a similar height to that of the former sorting office building to the east. The lower section would be comparable to the height of Sentinel Towers to the south. The form would step down to the electricity substation to the east, and this lower element would also step below the ridges of the houses on Kendal Walk. The step in roof form would also serve to aid the breaking down of height, scale and bulk in relation to adjoining buildings and in longer distance views such as from Kendal Walk. Existing views from Kendal Walk are already dominated by Sentinel Towers (built in the 1990s) and The Tannery (early 2000s) and other modern buildings including the Holiday Inn on Kirkstall Road. On Burley Street, Sentinel Towers features a step in its roofline and the proposal would acknowledge this as it steps down. The roofline of the proposed building is generally considered to be in keeping with the scale of Burley Street. The Inspector also noted that there is a general perception of development stepping down with the topography in this immediate area."

Page 44[38] of the council’s planning guidance “Neighbourhoods for Living”[39] states, "It is equally important to avoid development obscuring important views, whether to, from or through the site." One strategic view that would be blocked by the proposed development is across to the fairground on Elland Road. This view is shown by a red arrow (placed by the council) in this close-up[213] seen on the left of part of page 30[214] of the Kirkstall Road Renaissance Area Planning Framework.[4] The arrow points from Kendal Walk (at the bottom of Belle Vue Road) towards Elland Road. Another strategic view is across to green space and housing in Holbeck located further to the east than Elland Road. The photos on the right show some of the strategic views that would be blocked if the proposal from 46 Burley Street goes ahead.

The Little Woodhouse Neighbourhood Design Statement[42] was adopted as a Supplementary Planning Document on 22 March 2011. At page 4[43] it states, "Little Woodhouse is a varied place with many special qualities: gently sloping land and a steep escarpment with often dramatic views.” It also states, "the views are being compromised by tall buildings north of Kirkstall Road.” On page 8 [44] it states, "These slopes create many vistas, with some dramatic views to the skylines of Kirkstall and Armley.” On page 11[45] it states that a response to the question "What do you like about Little Woodhouse?" was "Lovely views downhill.” On page 22,[46] the document identifies long distance views from the Kendals as a positive characteristic. On page 49,[47] in the section entitled “Guidance for Development,” point 3 states, "Views and vistas (see character analysis map). New development should both maintain the positive views in and out of the area and take advantage of them in its location, orientation and outlook.”

Given all of the above, it is difficult to understand how the head of Development Management Steve Butler could state that no strategic view would be affected (see page 15[52] of the verbatim transcript[49] of the plans panel meeting of 28 July 2016). It is equally difficult to understand how planning officer Daljit Singh could state that no strategic view had been assessed (see pages 9 and 10[48] of the verbatim transcript[49] of the plans panel meeting of 28 July 2016). Also, planning officer Daljit Singh misled councillors when he told them, “in planning terms no one has a right to a view,” since the lack of a legal right to a view has nothing to do with the duty of planners to maintain strategic views. (see page 10[53] of the verbatim transcript[49] of the plans panel meeting of 28 July 2016).

Height

All the proposals were taller than planning officers wanted
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Page 6 of Acanthus Architects' October 2011 brochure[12] shows the building they proposed for 46 Burley Street. The western block is on the right.
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The original version of planning application 14/03735/FU submitted in June 2014.
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The amended version of 14/03735/FU rejected by the plans panel on 12 February 2015 due to its excessive scale and inadequate room size.
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The original version of planning application 16/01322/FU. Overall, It was just 2.9% less bulky than the previous application rejected on 12 February 2015 on account of its bulk.
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The amended version of 16/01322/FU considered by the panel on 28 July 2016. It was the same size as the original version. Councillors expressed concern about its appearance and scale.
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The further amended version of 16/01322/FU considered by the panel on 8 September 2016. It was the same size as earlier versions and to the untrained eye, appeared identical to the previous version. Panel members were annoyed that their previously expressed concerns about appearance and scale had been ignored.
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The final version of 16/01322/FU approved on 8 December 2016. It is the same overall size as all previous versions of planning application 16/01322/FU.
This section was compiled using documents[92] obtained on 14 February 2017 via the Freedom of Information Act. It shows that all the proposals put forward by the developer, even those recommended for approval by planning officers, were considered too tall by the planning department.

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On 3 November 2011, the planning department registered a pre-application[12] for a proposal for 100 student cluster flats at 46 Burley Street. The architect's brochure[13] proposed a building that would have been 7 to 8 storeys facing Burley Street and 4 to 5 storeys facing Park Lane. What the architects were proposing suggests that there is a 3 storey difference between the levels of Burley Street and Park Lane, when the difference is actually 2 storeys. In an email[14] to architect Gregor Small of Acanthus Architects in Aberdeenshire, dated 7 November 2011, planning officer Andrew Windress said, "The scale of the eastern block should reflect the adjacent building to the east. The scale of the three blocks should then reduce further west to a height that more closely relates to the much lower substation, perhaps another storey or two may need to be taken off the central and western wings (subject to further studies and more detailed consideration)." The building to the east is the former sorting office, which is 3 storeys facing Park Lane and 4 storeys facing Burley Street. Given that the floors inside the sorting office have very high ceilings, and given that the former sorting office is higher than the 5 storey Oak House on the other side of Park Lane, it seems likely that each storey of the former sorting office represents two residential storeys. If one or two storeys had been removed from the middle and western blocks of the proposed 46 Burley Street development, these blocks would have presented either 2 or 3 storeys to Park Lane, and not the 4 storeys intended by the developer.

By August 2013, Burley Place Limited had sacked Acanthus Architects and hired Simon Grundy of Indigo Planning and Christian Sanders of architects West and Machell to represent them. An email dated 3 August 2012[15] from Simon Grundy to Andrew Windress referred to a proposed block that would be 9 storeys adjacent to the former sorting office, stepping down to 5 storeys adjacent to the electricity sub-station. A subsequent email[16] dated 7 August 2012 from Andrew Windress to Simon Grundy stated, "The eastern wing should be within one storey of the adjacent building" and "The west wing should reflect the Sentinel building opposite and be no more than 5 storeys." This would mean that the west wing would be 3 storeys facing Park Lane. On 17 September 2012, Andrew Windess sent Simon Grundy an email[17] which contained the following paragraph, "I must also point out that Phil Crabtree and other(s) had significant concerns regarding the scale of the proposed scheme outlined in the isometric sketches submitted to date and sought the removal of multiple floors." Phil Crabtree retired as chief planning officer in January 2015[18] and was replaced by the current chief planning officer Tim Hill. Phil Crabtree's retirement on 29 January 2015 may explain why the officer's report[1] to plans panel which considered application 14/03735/FU on 12 February 2015, failed to recommend rejection of the proposal on the ground of excessive height. On 18 December 2012, Simon Grundy submitted a formal request[19] for pre-application advice for a development that would provide 134 student bed spaces. This stated on page 2 of the request, "We understand from recent discussions with the City Development Department that the principle of re-development for residential use in general and student housing specifically are considered acceptable." On 1 February 2013, Andrew Windress sent Simon Grundy an email[20] which contained this paragraph,"The form of the proposed building is generally supported but the scale is still too high. My email of 7/8/12 identified an appropriate scale and I would refer you back to this email. There may be some scope to set some of the floors back along Park Lane and to the west to reduce the prominence and help overcome some of the concerns regarding scale." An email[93] dated 8 May 2013 from Andrew Windress to Simon Grundy revealed that planning officer Chris Briggs would be taking over from Andrew Windress as the planning officer with responsibility for the 46 Burley Street site. On 18 October 2013, planning officer Chris Briggs sent an email[21] to Hannah Smith of Indigo Planning in which he said, "In terms of design comments, I think it would be worth meeting with the architect and Mark Burgess (Design Team Leader) so we can give informal support to urban design. I’ve discussed Mark’s earlier comments on the scheme (including his notes of your pre-app meeting with him), and from looking at the previous scheme and the current one, it doesn’t appear that his comments have been fully taken on board." Chris Briggs then summarised Mark Burgess's notes and his summary included this note "Storey heights – 2 full storeys should be removed from the lower ‘L-shape’ element, across the building whole it is considered the set-back device is not appropriate." I assume the words "building" and "whole" have been transposed. So perhaps the note should have read, "Storey heights – 2 full storeys should be removed from the lower ‘L-shape’ element, across the whole building it is considered the set-back device is not appropriate." Chris Briggs also said, "Acknowledging Daljit’s discussion with Simon when we met with him on 27 September 2013, please note the Council’s emerging policy position regarding student housing. Notwithstanding the objections to the proposed changes to Policy H6 of the draft Core Strategy, the policy, incorporating the changes to it, was agreed by the Council’s Executive Board on 4th September and is a material planning consideration. Consequently,as others have already done so in recent applications, the requirements of Policy H6B (as amended) need to be addressed by the application." Apart from an email to Chris Briggs from Richard Webster at the council's Transport Development Services, also sent on 18 October 2013, there were no further emails in the bundle[92] sent to me in response to my Freedom of Information request, until one sent from Chris Briggs to Simon Grundy on 12 October 2015, which was after the appeal against refusal of planning permission for application 14/03735/FU had been dismissed. So there is a two year gap in the email record between 18 October 2013 and 12 October 2015. This means we have no explanation for why the planning department (a) failed to recommend refusal of planning application 14/03735/FU on the grounds of excessive height and the principle of student occupation, even though Indigo Planning had ignored their request to remove 2 storeys from the lower section of the proposed development and did not address Core Strategy Policy H6(B)(iii) in the planning statement[22] which accompanied planning application 14/03735/FU, and (b) recommended approval of planning application 16/01322/FU even though not only had the developer failed to remove 2 storeys from the western side of the proposed block, but had actually added an additional storey to it, making a total of 5 storeys facing Park Lane at both ends of the building, and again failed to address Core Strategy Policy H6(B)(iii) in the planning statement[23] which accompanied planning application 16/01322/FU.

This architect's drawing[215] shows the relation of the earlier version of the current application to the 2 storey terraces on the other side of the road. This drawing shows the relation of the new revised version to the 2 storey terraces on the other side of the road. As you can see, there's no difference. The 2 storey terraces would still be dominated by the proposed development. And the principle of “stepping down the slope” required by Neighbourhoods for Living[39] is still violated (see page 42).

At paragraph 12 of his Appeal Decision,[25] dated 1 August 2007, to dismiss an appeal against the council’s refusal to grant planning permission for a student tower block on the former RSPCA site on nearby Cavendish Street (06/02379/RM) planning inspector Mr J D S Gillis said, “I consider that the scale of development in the area as a whole needs very careful consideration to ensure that the design, mass and density of future developments avoid the shortcomings apparent in some of the existing development. I consider that insufficient attention has been given in the area generally to the impact of the close proximity of tall buildings to a street pattern originally designed for more domestic scale buildings.” At paragraph 13 of the Appeal Decision,[25] Mr Gillis said, "While it is argued that the proposed development follows council guidance, I do not consider that such guidance intends that all future developments should attain the maximum heights indicated.”

Bulk

Planning Application 14/03735/FU
Plans Panel Floor Space m2 Decision Reason
12 February 2005 4296.3 [28] Rejected Too Bulky
The 3 Versions of Planning Application 16/01322/FU
Plans Panel Floor Space m2 Decision Compared to 14/03735/FU
28 July 2016 4171.5 [29] Deferred (Too Bulky) 2.9% smaller
8 September 2016 4184.0 [30] Deferred (Too Bulky) 2.6% smaller
8 December 2016 4186.0 [31] Approved 2.6% smaller

The Decision Notice[97] dated 16 February 2015 which rejected planning application 14/03735/FU stated as its second reason for refusal, "The application proposal would result in an over intensive development, out of character with the urban grain of the immediate surrounding area by reason of the dominating effects of its excessive height and bulk. The application is therefore contrary to Leeds Core Strategy Policy SP1 (iii) and P10, Leeds UDPR Saved Policies GP5 and BD2, and Little Woodhouse Neighbourhood Design Statement SPD, Neighbourhoods for Living SPG, and the National Planning Policy Framework."

Councillors considered planning application 16/01322/FU at the plans panel meetings on 28 July 2016 and 8 September 2016 and expressed concern that the building was still too bulky. Council officers at these meetings seemed determined to regard these concerns in terms of perception rather than fact.

These are the floor plans[28] for application 14/03735/FU which was rejected at the 14 February 2015 plans panel meeting because the proposed building was too bulky. These are the floor plans[29] for the version of application 16/01322/FU that was considered at the 28 July 2016 plans panel meeting. These are the floor plans[30] for the version of application 16/01322/FU that was considered at the 8 September plans panel meeting. These are the floor plans[31] for the version of application 16/01322/FU that was considered at the 8 December plans panel meeting. When you add together the floor spaces for each application and compare them, you discover (1) that the version of application 16/01322/FU that was considered at the 28 July 2016 plans panel meeting was just 2.9% less bulky than application 14/03735/FU rejected on 14 February 2015 because of its bulk, and (2) that the version of application 16/01322/FU considered at the 8 September 2016 plans panel meeting was 0.3% bigger than the version considered at the 28 July plans panel meeting, and (3) that the version of application 16/01322/FU considered at the 8 December 2016 plans panel meeting was 0.05% bigger than the version considered at the 8 September plans panel meeting. This chart[32] provides easy to understand comparisons.

The Principle of Residential Accommodation

The Kirkstall Road Renaissance Area Planning Framework[4] states at paragraph 4.4.2 on page 20[5] that there should be no more residential development, and especially student development, in Area 4 (City Heights) because there has already been so much (approximately 4,000 student flats). The proposed development at 46 Burley Street is in Area 4. The Framework states:

"The current proposals at various stages of progress are all for residential purposes: high density cluster flats, including purpose built student accommodation. Therefore, the remaining potential redevelopment sites should only be developed for a non-residential purpose. In addition, further applications which create dominance of a particular tenure, such as student accommodation would not be acceptable as it fails to create the mixed and sustainable communities advanced in PPS3."

The Framework’s recommendation to prohibit further student development is to preserve employment opportunities in Area 4.

Precedence

Edged in red is the land Breslin Properties was to build a student block on.

Every approval of a planning application to build a student block in Little Woodhouse has been used by developers, the planning department, and even some councillors as providing justification for giving approval to further such planning applications. When planning application 20/491/05/FU for a 10 storey student block which would provide 554 student bed spaces was considered by the city centre plans panel on 2 February 2006, Councillor Graham Latty said that if they rejected the application, it would be "like closing the door after the horse has bolted." The application was approved. When planning application 16/01322/FU was considered by the city centre plans panel on 28 July 2016, page 13[216] of the verbatim transcript[49] shows that Councillor Colin Campbell said, "You have to face the facts that whatever else happens, whatever development comes on this site, whatever it might be, it will not be significantly smaller than everything else that’s round it. You will not get a row of semis on here. So we have to face facts that we’re going to get a building which is substantially not related to a semi-detached house." Page 15[52] of the verbatim transcript of the same meeting, shows that the head of Development Management, Steve Butler said, "I think there's always going to be something big on site." Paragraph 9.2.3[217] of the planning officer's report[36] dated 28 July 2016 to the city centre plans panel stated, "The taller element of the revised proposed building would be of a similar height to that of the former sorting office building to the east. The lower section would be comparable to the height of Sentinel Towers to the south."

On 10 May 2011, representatives of Breslin Properties met with Leeds City Council's community planning officer, Ryan Platten, and representatives of Little Woodhouse Community Association to discuss a proposal by Breslin Properties to build an 8 storey student block on the narrow triangle of land at the junction of Belle Vue Road and Park Lane.[172] The site is immediately adjacent to the Concept Place student block. The proposed development would provide 104 studio flats and 208 student bed spaces.[171] This was confirmed by a briefing note[218] prepared by community planning officer Ryan Platten in March 2011, which stated, "The new proposal is for a 104 studio apartments with an occupancy of 208. The building will be on a similar scale to Concept House."

The likelihood is that the Breslin Properties proposal to build a student block on the land adjacent to Concept Place would become a formal planning application if the application to build a student block on the 46 Burley Street site goes ahead.

Site for Sale

For sale sign which was probably erected on 18 January 2017

At 9am on Thursday 19 January 2017, I noticed that a "For Sale" sign had been erected on the hoardings fronting Park Lane. I also discovered that another "For sale" sign had been erected on the other side of the site facing Burley Street. The "For Sale" signs state that the site was for sale with planning permission for 87 student flats. Since Leeds City Council has still to publish a decision notice confirming that the application has been approved, I sent individual emails to planning officer Daljit Singh, to Indigo Planning and to Savills estate agents, asking each of them what was going on, given that there was no planning permission. I sent these emails on the evening of 19 January 2017. At the same time, I also advised Daljit Singh[219] and Indigo Planning[220] that it was my intention to ask for a judicial review of the decision to grant planning permission. Chris Briggs replied[221] on behalf of Daljit Singh on 20 January 2017 and stated that the legal agreement referred to in the plans panel resolution[106] was with the developer's solicitors waiting to be signed, and until it was, no decision notice could be issued. He added that the erection of the "For Sale" sign was a matter for Savills estate agents. In response to my email to Savills, I received a reply[222] from Matthew Jones on 20 January 2017 stating, "The site has the benefit of a minded to grant planning permission subject to the signing of a s.106 agreement. The s.106 agreement is being circulated for signature currently and once the parties have signed, the planning notice will be issued." In response to my email to Indigo Planning, Matthew Stocks emailed me[223] on 23 January 2017 to inform me that Simon Grundy who spoke on behalf of Indigo Planning at plans panels, no longer works for the firm, and that Indigo Planning is no longer the agent for the developer Burley Place, and that the architects West and Machell are now the agents. Mr Stocks copied in the architect Christian Sanders to his email to me so he would know what was going on. My concern about the site being sold "with planning permission" is that the purchaser might acquire a right to build irrespective of the outcome of a judicial review.

It would be interesting to know by how much the grant of planning permission has increased the value of the site. An extract[224] from Land Registry Title Number WYK226169 shows that Burley Place Limited, the owners of the 46 Burley Street site, paid £500k for the site on 30 October 2009. The estate agent's website[225] states that the "For Sale" price is available on application. But the estate agent's Savills refused to disclose the "For Sale" price to my neighbour Richard Hellawell when he asked them for it on 23 February 2017. Mr Hellawell said that from the sound of things, a sale of the land is to take place shortly. A brochure[107] produced by Savills gives details relating to the property.

Decision Notice

Leeds City Council web page showing the most recent agreed decision date of 24 March 2017 and the date the decision was finally made, 10 March 2017.
Agreed Decision Dates
09 January 2017
19 January 2017
02 February 2017
09 February 2017
24 February 2017
24 March 2017

The council's Decision Notice[109] was published on 10 March 2017. It was published two weeks in advance of 24 March 2017, which was the most recent of several dates agreed between the council and the developer for publication of the Decision Notice. The date had been put back several times since the application was approved by councillors on 8 December 2016. The most recent change was from an agreed decision date of 24 February 2017[226] to an agreed decision date of 24 March 2017.[227]

In an email[105] to me dated 22 December 2016, planning officer Daljit Singh stated, "The decision has not been issued because it is subject to completion of a Section 106 legal agreement to cover the planning obligations referred to in the Panel report.” But at the meeting of the plans panel on 28 July 2016, pages 7 and 8[228] of the verbatim transcript[49] of the meeting shows that Simon Grundy of Indigo Planning stated, "We have already agreed heads of terms on section 106, should permission be granted, to include local trading initiatives." This suggests that the section 106 agreement had been largely completed by 28 July 2016. The real reason for the delay appears to have been that a legal agreement between the council, the developer, and the Co-op had still to be completed. This agreement[229] appeared on the council website on 8 March 2017. I am concerned that the delay in publication of the Decision Notice could result in the land being sold, and my position being compromised as a result, before the outcome of an application for judicial review.

Key Documents

References

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 Planning Officer's report dated 12 February 2015
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Page 12 of verbatim transcript of 28 July 2016 city centre plans panel meeting
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 My notes of what was said at the plans panel meeting dated 12 February 2015
  4. 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 4.11 Kirkstall Road Renaissance Area Planning Framework, January 2007
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Page 20 of the Kirkstall Road Renaissance Area Planning Framework
  6. Map showing the Little Woodhouse Neighbourhood Designated Area
  7. 7.0 7.1 Table showing when the student blocks in Little Woodhouse were approved and the number of bed spaces they provide.
  8. Map with chart showing the number of student bed spaces in Little Woodhouse
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 9.6 9.7 9.8 9.9 Assessment of Housing Market Conditions and Demand Trends in Inner North West Leeds
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 A chart showing that students form 75% of the population in Little Woodhouse
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 Page 76 of Leeds City Council's Core Strategy
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 Email dated 3 November 2011 from planning officer Andrew Windress (obtained under FOI)
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 Acanthus Architects' brochure dated October 2011 (obtained under FOI)
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 Email dated 7 November 2011 from planning officer Andrew Windress to architect Gregor Small (obtained under FOI)
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 Email dated 3 August 2012 from Simon Grundy of Indigo Planning to planning officer Andrew Windress (obtained under FOI).
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 Email dated 7 August 2012 from planning officer Andrew Windress to Simon Grundy of Indigo Planning (obtained under FOI)
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 Email dated 17 September 2012 from planning officer Andrew Windress to Simon Grundy of Indigo Planning.
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 The man who helped to shape Leeds retires, Yorkshire Evening Post, 29 January 2015
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 Letter dated 18 December 2012 from Simon Grundy of Indigo Planning to planning officer Andrew Windress (obtained under FOI)
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 Email dated 1 February 2013 from planning officer Andrew Windress to Simon Grundy of Indigo Planning (obtained under FOI)
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 21.3 21.4 Email dated 18 October 2013 from planning officer Chris Briggs to Hannah Smith of Indigo Planning.
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 22.3 22.4 Indigo Planning's Planning Statement dated June 2014
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 23.3 23.4 Indigo Planning's Planning Statement dated February 2016
  24. Email to me dated 7 March 2017 from Richard Brook at Leeds City Council.
  25. 25.0 25.1 25.2 25.3 RSPCA site Appeal Decision dated 1 August 2007
  26. Artist's impression showing the proposed development that was considered on 28 July 2016
  27. 27.0 27.1 Officer's report to plans panel dated 8 June 2004 relating to application 2Al447l03lFU
  28. 28.0 28.1 28.2 The floor plans for application 14/03735/FU
  29. 29.0 29.1 29.2 The floor plans for the version of application 16/01322/FU that was considered at the 28 July 2016 plans panel meeting
  30. 30.0 30.1 30.2 The floor plans for the version of application 16/01322/FU that was considered at the 8 September plans panel meeting
  31. 31.0 31.1 31.2 The floor plans for the version of application 16/01322/FU that was considered at the 8 December plans panel meeting
  32. 32.0 32.1 Chart comparing the floor spaces of the versions of the proposed building considered on 14 February 2015, 28 July 2016, 8 September 2016 and 8 December 2016.
  33. 33.0 33.1 33.2 Leeds City Council's Draft Site Allocations Plan
  34. 34.0 34.1 34.2 Page 11 of Leeds City Council's Draft Site Allocations Plan
  35. 35.0 35.1 Page 15 of the planning officer's report to plans panel dated 28 July 2015
  36. 36.00 36.01 36.02 36.03 36.04 36.05 36.06 36.07 36.08 36.09 36.10 36.11 36.12 36.13 36.14 36.15 36.16 36.17 36.18 36.19 36.20 36.21 36.22 36.23 Planning officer's report dated 28 July 2016
  37. 37.0 37.1 Page 2 of the planning officer's report to plans panel dated 28 July 2016
  38. 38.0 38.1 Page 44 of "Neighbourhoods for Living 2015."
  39. 39.0 39.1 39.2 39.3 39.4 39.5 Neighbourhoods for Living 2015
  40. 40.0 40.1 Page 4 of the Kirkstall Road Renaissance Area Planning Framework
  41. Map extract from page 30 of the Kirkstall Road renaissance Area Planning Framework.
  42. 42.0 42.1 Little Woodhouse Neighbourhood Design Statement
  43. 43.0 43.1 Page 4 of Little Woodhouse Neighbourhood Design Statement
  44. 44.0 44.1 Page 8 of Little Woodhouse Neighbourhood Design Statement
  45. 45.0 45.1 Page 11 of Little Woodhouse Neighbourhood Design Statement
  46. 46.0 46.1 Page 22 of Little Woodhouse Neighbourhood Design Statement
  47. 47.0 47.1 Page 49 of Little Woodhouse Neighbourhood Design Statement
  48. 48.0 48.1 48.2 48.3 48.4 48.5 Pages 9 and 10 of the verbatim transcript of the plans panel meeting of 28 July 2016
  49. 49.00 49.01 49.02 49.03 49.04 49.05 49.06 49.07 49.08 49.09 49.10 49.11 49.12 49.13 49.14 49.15 49.16 49.17 49.18 49.19 49.20 Verbatim transcript of plans panel meeting dated 28 July 2016
  50. 50.0 50.1 50.2 Letter dated 17 November 2015 from planning officer Chris Briggs to Simon Grundy of Indigo Planning.
  51. 51.0 51.1 51.2 51.3 Paragraphs 9.2.2 and 9.2.3 of the planning officer's report dated 28 July 2016 to the city centre plans panel.
  52. 52.0 52.1 52.2 Page 15 of the verbatim transcript of the 28 July plans panel meeting
  53. 53.0 53.1 Page 10 of the verbatim transcript of the 28 July plans panel meeting
  54. 54.0 54.1 Page 42 of "Neighbourhoods for Living 2015"
  55. 55.0 55.1 55.2 55.3 55.4 55.5 Pages 2 and 3 of the verbatim transcript of the 8 December 2016 city centre plans panel meeting
  56. 56.00 56.01 56.02 56.03 56.04 56.05 56.06 56.07 56.08 56.09 56.10 56.11 56.12 Verbatim transcript of plans panel meeting dated 8 December 2016
  57. 57.0 57.1 Page 11 of the verbatim transcript of the 28 July 2016 city centre plans panel meeting.
  58. 58.0 58.1 58.2 58.3 58.4 58.5 58.6 58.7 58.8 Planning officer's notes from workshop dated 1 November 2016
  59. 59.0 59.1 Page 4 of the verbatim transcript of the 28 July 2016 city centre plans panel meeting
  60. 60.0 60.1 Page 2 of the verbatim transcript of the 8 September 2016 city centre plans panel meeting
  61. 61.0 61.1 61.2 61.3 61.4 61.5 Verbatim transcript of plans panel meeting dated 8 September 2016
  62. 62.0 62.1 Paragraph 2.2 of the planning officer's report to plans panel dated 8 December 2016
  63. 63.0 63.1 63.2 63.3 Planning officer's report to plans panel dated 8 December 2016
  64. 64.0 64.1 Paragraph 4.1.4 of the planning officer's report dated 19 February 2004 recommending approval of planning application 20/447/03FU
  65. 65.0 65.1 Planning officer's report dated 19 February 2004 recommending approval of planning application 20/447/03FU
  66. 66.0 66.1 Page 4 of the planning officer's report dated 12 February 2017 to the city centre plans panel
  67. 67.0 67.1 Paragraph 5.6 of the planning officer's report to plans panel dated 28 July 2016
  68. 68.0 68.1 my objection to planning application 16/01322/FU.
  69. 69.0 69.1 Pages 6 and 7 of the verbatim transcript of the 28 July 2016 city centre plans panel meeting.
  70. 70.0 70.1 70.2 70.3 70.4 70.5 Official Minutes of plans panel meeting dated 28 July 2016
  71. 71.0 71.1 Email dated 7 September 2016 from planning officer Chris Briggs to Richard Hellawell and I.
  72. 72.0 72.1 Positive Engagement - a guide for planning councillors
  73. 73.0 73.1 Leeds City Council's draft guidance on pre-application presentations.
  74. 74.0 74.1 Protocol for pre-application presentations at the Plans Panels.
  75. 75.0 75.1 http://democracy.leeds.gov.uk/documents/s57081/Report%20on%20Pre-applications.pdf Chief planning officer's report "Pre-application presentations to the Plans Panels."]
  76. 76.0 76.1 Leeds City Council's guide to plans panels
  77. 77.0 77.1 "Probity in Planning."
  78. 78.0 78.1 http://www.pas.gov.uk/documents/332612/6261492/4.+Engaging+councillors+and+communities+in+pre-application+discussions.pdf/f2489a92-b379-4f22-8b4d-ab1741fe1334]
  79. 79.0 79.1 Planning Act 2008: Guidance on the pre-application process
  80. 80.0 80.1 Leeds City Council's Planning Code of Good Practice 19 may 2016
  81. 81.0 81.1 81.2 Email from planning officer Chris Briggs dated 9 December 2016
  82. Map of Little Woodhouse
  83. Aerial Photo showing 46 Burley Street in relation to Kendal Walk and nearby student blocks.
  84. Photo of the Leeds and Moortown furniture depository
  85. The planning officer's Delegation Report dated 2013
  86. Leeds City Council web page with details of planning application 20/419/05/FU
  87. Letter from me to Chris Briggs dated 11 October 2015
  88. 88.0 88.1 88.2 Decision dated 1 December 2008 of the Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment Partnership relating to 46 Burley Street
  89. Email dated 22 October 2016 from Freda Matthews to Alun Hayes and Sophie Taylor of Knight Frank
  90. Email exchange from Autumn 2010 between the developer's agent, a planning officer and local residents.
  91. Paragraph 1.9 of Indigo Planning's Planning Statement dated February 2016
  92. 92.0 92.1 92.2 92.3 92.4 92.5 Document obtained from Leeds city council on 14 February 2017 via the Freedom of Information Act.
  93. 93.0 93.1 Email dated 8 May 2013 from planning officer Andrew Windress to Simon Grundy of Indigo Planning (obtained under FOI)
  94. Link to council web page containing documents relating to planning application 14/03735/FU
  95. Indigo Planning’s letter to Chris Briggs dated 17 October 2014
  96. Official minutes of the plans panel meeting dated 12 February 2015
  97. 97.0 97.1 Decision Notice dated 16 February 2015
  98. Appeal Decision dated 10 September 2015
  99. Council web page containing all the documents relating the application, except for certain artists' impressions that were shown to the plans panel on 8 December 2016
  100. Paragraph 11.1 of the planning officer's report dated 28 July 2016
  101. 101.0 101.1 Planning Officer's report to plans panel dated 8 September 2016
  102. Email of complaint from Richard Hellawell to plans panel councillors and planning officer Chris Briggs
  103. Letter from planning department dated 14 November 2016
  104. Email from planning officer Chris Briggs dated 16 November 2016
  105. 105.0 105.1 Email exchange between myself and planning officer Daljit Singh
  106. 106.0 106.1 Official minutes of plans panel meeting dated 8 December 2016
  107. 107.0 107.1 Estate agents Savills' "For Sale" brochure for 46 Burley Street
  108. Details relating to the "For Sale" signs.
  109. 109.0 109.1 Decision Notice dated 10 March 2017 granting planning permission for application 16/01322/FU
  110. Details relating to publication of the decision Notice
  111. Email from me to the planning department dated 4 September 2016
  112. Email from me dated 7 September 2016 to planning officer Chris Briggs
  113. Email from Richard Hellawell dated 7 September 2016 to plans panel councillors
  114. Richard Hellawell's second email dated 7 September 2016 to plans panel councillors.
  115. Notification dated 3 July 2014 of planning application 14/03735/FU sent to Little Woodhouse Community Association.
  116. Notification dated 15 August 2014 of an amendment to planning application 14/03735/FU.
  117. Notification dated 30 August 2014 of an amendment to planning application 14/03735/FU.
  118. Notification dated 4 February 2015 of an amendment to planning application 14/03735/FU.
  119. Notification dated 4 February 2015 that planning application 14/03735/FU would be determined by the city centre plans panel on 12 February 2015.
  120. Notification dated 27 April 2015 that an appeal had been lodged against refusal of planning permission for application 14/03735/FU.
  121. Notification dated 22 June 2015 that the appeal would be heard on 22 July 2015.
  122. Notification dated 14 March 2016 of planning application 16/01322/FU sent to Little Woodhouse Community Association.
  123. Notification dated 1 June 2016 of an amendment to planning application 16/01322/FU.
  124. Notification dated 4 February 2015 that planning application 16/01322/FU would be determined by the city centre plans panel on 12 February 2015.
  125. Notification dated 14 November 2016 that an amendment had been made on 10 November 2016 to planning application 16/01322/FU.
  126. Notification dated 30 November 2016 that planning application 16/01322/FU would be determined by the city centre plans panel on 8 December 2016.
  127. Probity in Planning April 2013
  128. Appendix 1 of Leeds City Council's Planning Code of Good Practice
  129. Email from Daljit Singh dated 14 December 2016
  130. Leeds City Council web page with details of planning application 20/419/05/fu
  131. letter from me to Yorkshire Evening Post dated 18 November 2005
  132. Letter to me dated 8 December 2005 from Councillor Martin Hamilton.
  133. Minutes of the meeting of Leeds City Council's North West Inner Area Committee held on 2 July 2009
  134. Email from me to the Headingley councillors dated 8 August 2009
  135. Email to me dated 10 August 2009 from Councillor Jamie Matthews.
  136. Email to me dated 11 August 2009 from Councillor James Monaghan
  137. 137.0 137.1 Councillor Walshaw's email to me dated 10 September 2016
  138. 138.0 138.1 138.2 Page 62 of Leeds City Council's Core Strategy (adopted November 2014)
  139. 139.0 139.1 139.2 139.3 139.4 139.5 139.6 139.7 139.8 Leeds City Council's Core Strategy (adopted November 2014
  140. Page 76 of Leeds City Council's Core Strategy (adopted November 2014)
  141. National Planning Policy Framework
  142. Paragraph 50 of the National Planning Policy Framework
  143. 143.0 143.1 143.2 143.3 143.4 Page 12 of planning officer's report to plans panel dated 12 February 2015
  144. 144.0 144.1 144.2 144.3 144.4 Paragraph 9.1.2 of the planning officer's report dated 28 July 2016
  145. Letter from Leeds City Council dated 3 February 2015 confirming that the Little Woodhouse Neighbourhood Area was approved on 3 February 2015.
  146. Map showing the Little Woodhouse Neighbourhood Area
  147. Leeds City Council Neighbourhood Planning Progress Table dated April 2016
  148. Information about re'new and its 2007 and 2012 student housing reports
  149. 149.0 149.1 149.2 A Strategy for Housing Students in Leeds 2005–2010 (2007)
  150. Page 10 of "A Strategy for Housing Students in Leeds 2005-2010."
  151. 151.0 151.1 151.2 Page 11 of "A Strategy for Housing Students in Leeds 2005–2010" (2007
  152. 152.0 152.1 152.2 Page 31 of Assessment of Housing Market Conditions and Demand Trends in Inner North West Leeds (August 2012)
  153. 153.0 153.1 Page 30 of "Assessment of Housing Market Conditions and Demand Trends in Inner North West Leeds"
  154. Page 29 of Assessment of Housing Market Conditions and Demand Trends in Inner North West Leeds (August 2012)
  155. Page 12 of "A Strategy for Housing Students in Leeds 2005-2010."
  156. Page 34 of Assessment of Housing Market Conditions and Demand Trends in Inner North West Leeds.
  157. Page 33 of Assessment of Housing Market Conditions and Demand Trends in Inner North West Leeds.
  158. '"The Changing Face of North West Leeds," Unipol, 2013
  159. Examples of inaccuracies contained in re'new's 2012 report Assessment of Housing Market Conditions and Demand Trends in Inner North West Leeds
  160. Pages 30 and 31 of Assessment of Housing Market Conditions and Demand Trends in Inner North West Leeds (August 2012)
  161. Page 7 of A Strategy for Housing Students in Leeds 2005–2010 (2007)
  162. Page 8 of A Strategy for Housing Students in Leeds 2005–2010 (2007)
  163. Page 13 of A Strategy for Housing Students in Leeds 2005–2010 (2007)
  164. Our area is going to be swamped by students, Yorkshire Evening Post, 7 October 2005
  165. Burley residents say no to student development, Yorkshire Evening Post, 9 January 2006
  166. "Ghetto Blasters," Yorkshire Evening Post, 13 March 2006
  167. Student 'yobs' drive out locals, Times Higher Education Supplement, 30 June 2006
  168. Email from me dated 11 February 2008
  169. Leeds builder wants student restriction lifted Yorkshire Evening Post, 14 February 2008
  170. "Councillors take stand against flats for Leeds students," Yorkshire Evening Post, 15 August 2008
  171. 171.0 171.1 Notes of a meeting dated 5 April 2011 between Little Woodhouse Community Association and community planning officer Ryan Platten
  172. 172.0 172.1 Notes of the meeting dated 10 May 2011 between Little Woodhouse Community Association, community planning officer Ryan Platten, and Burley Associates.
  173. Statement by Little Woodhouse Community Association committee member dated 15 February 2012
  174. Artist's impression of a proposal to build student blocks at 27 Burley Road
  175. My speech to the North West (Inner) Area Committee dated 23 February 2012.
  176. Minutes of the meeting of Leeds City Council's North West (Inner) Area Committee dated 23 February 2012.
  177. Planning officer's report to plans panel dated 30 August 2012
  178. Draft minutes of the 30 August 2012 city centre plans panel meeting
  179. Minutes of the city centre plans panel dated 27 September 2012
  180. Burley Road Student Accommodation Action Plan, September 2012.
  181. West Yorkshire Police's "Neighbourhood News" for Ward 19, November 2012
  182. West Yorkshire Police's "Neighbourhood News" for Ward 19, February 2013
  183. Page 3 of “Accommodation for Students and impacts on residential neighbourhoods”
  184. Leeds City Council's report “Accommodation for Students and impacts on residential neighbourhoods,”December 2014
  185. Paragraph 9.2 of the planning officer's report dated 24 march 2016 to the city centre plans panel
  186. Planning officer's report dated 24 March 2016 to the city centre plans panel
  187. Councillor Walshaw's email to me dated 10 September 2016
  188. Page 8 of planning officer's report dated 9 October 2014
  189. Planning officer's report dated 9 October 2014
  190. Page 10 of “Greater flexibility for planning permissions”
  191. “Greater flexibility for planning permissions”
  192. Page 1 of Indigo Planning's Planning Statement dated June 2014
  193. Page 1 of Indigo Planning's Retail Statement dated October 2014
  194. Indigo Planning's Retail Statement dated October 2014
  195. My email dated 14 November 2014
  196. Page 8 of Indigo Planning's Planning Statement dated February 2016
  197. Leeds Unitary Development Plan (Review 2006)
  198. Policies H15 and H15A of the Leeds Unitary Development Plan (Review 2006)
  199. Map showing the Area of Housing Mix
  200. “Neighbourhoods for Living - Memoranda to 3rd Edition 2015”
  201. Report on the Kirkstall Road Renaissance Area Planning Framework
  202. Page 5 of the planning officer's report to plans panel dated 28 July 2016
  203. Emailed dated 18 October 2013 from the council's Transport Development Services officer Richard Webster to planning officer Chris Briggs.
  204. Page 9 of the planning officer's report to plans panel dated 28 July 2016
  205. Page 10 of the planning officer's report to plans panel dated 28 July 2016
  206. Planning officers' report to plan panel west dated 19 February 2004
  207. Planning officers' report to plans panel dated 22 April 2004
  208. [Planning officer's report to plans panel dated 15 September 2005]
  209. Poster advertising the Great Valentine's Fair on Elland Road.
  210. Large poster advertising the St Valentine's Fair on Elland Road.
  211. Appeal Decision dated 10 September 2015
  212. Paragraphs 9.2.2 and 9.2.3 of the planning officer's report dated 28 July 2016 to the city centre plans panel.
  213. Close-up of part of page 30 from the Kirkstall Road Renaissance Planning Framework
  214. page 30 from the Kirkstall Road Renaissance Area Planning Framework.
  215. Architect's drawing showing the relation of the earlier version of the current application to the 2 storey terraces on the other side of the road
  216. Page 13 of the verbatim transcript of the 28 July 2016 meeting of the city centre plans panel
  217. Paragraph 9.2.3 of the planning officer's report date 28 July 2016 to the city centre plans panel
  218. Briefing note prepared by community planning officer Ryan Platten in March 2011
  219. Email from me dated 19 January 2017 to planning officer Daljit Singh
  220. Email from me to Indigo Planning dated 20 January 2017.
  221. Email from Chris Briggs to me dated 20 January 2017
  222. Email from Matthew Jones at Savills estate agents.
  223. Email to me from Matthew Stocks at Indigo Planning dated 23 January 2017.
  224. Extract from Land Registry Title Number WYK226169
  225. Savills' web page with the "For Sale" details for 46 Burley Street
  226. Screen print of a Leeds City Council web page showing an agreed decision date of 24 February 2017
  227. Screen print of a Leeds City Council web page showing an agreed decision date of 24 March 2017
  228. Pages 7 and 8 of the verbatim transcript of the 28 July 2016 plans panel meeting.
  229. Legal agreement dated 8 March 2017 between Leeds City Council, Burley Place Limited and the Co-op