Leeds HMO Lobby


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Kirkstall Road Renaissance
Comments on the Draft Planning Framework

1. Leeds HMO Lobby is an association of local community associations, recognised by Leeds City Council as representative of the community in Inner NW Leeds in respect of student housing and related issues. It is in this capacity that, in the spirit of community involvement, the Lobby comments on the Draft Planning Framework for the Kirkstall Road Renaissance Area.

2. The Lobby’s main interest is in Area 4 of the Framework, currently designated ‘City Heights’. The Lobby is surprised that the Framework entirely overlooks the dominant feature of this Area, namely the proposals for student accommodation. To be sure, in 4.4, the Framework notes the “relative proximity to the University [of Leeds] and area affected by the activities of Area of Student Housing Restraint ... recent housing developments ... Sentinel Towers ... Further housing developments are under construction or undergoing development assessment ... The current proposals at various stages of progress are all for residential purposes: high density cluster housing.” But there is no reference to the fact that this Area includes eight developments (including Sentinel Towers) intended for student accommodation, which in total would comprise some 3,000 bedspaces (see Appendix). Leeds HMO Lobby has drawn these developments to the attention of the Council’s Student Housing Project Group, which has acknowledged its significance. Collectively, these developments have become known as ‘Little Woodhouse Student Village’ – and the Lobby suggests that this would in fact be a better designation for Area 4.

3. Not recognising the potential ‘Village’, the Framework does not attempt an evaluation. One advantage it offers is that it is (partly) in accordance with Policy H15A of Leeds UDP Review, which is intended to disperse student accommodation in the city, thereby drawing it away from ASHORE. However, on the other hand, the ‘Village’ in fact straddles the boundary of ASHORE, and is therefore contrary to the provisions of Policy H15 of the Review. Again (for that very reason) it presents a profound threat to the residential area of Little Woodhouse, which lies directly between the ‘Village’ and the University campus. Moreover, the development of the ‘Village’ is detrimental, not only to Little Woodhouse residents, but also to the potential residents of the ‘Village’ itself – it is entirely lacking in the infrastructure to be expected for so intensive a development, including connections between the developments, on-site amenity spaces, facilities (like shops) and services (especially medical, for instance), and so on. The emergence of the ‘Village’ represents a failure of development control.

4. The Lobby recommends, first, that the presence of a potential student village in Area 4 be properly documented in the Framework. Secondly, the Lobby recommends that a full evaluation of the implications of this village be undertaken, in conjunction with all interested parties, especially Little Woodhouse Community Association in particular (and Leeds HMO Lobby in general), and also Unipol and the University of Leeds. Finally, the Lobby recommends that the Framework include proposals for action to address all the issues arising from its evaluation.

5. Leeds HMO Lobby looks forward to recognition of ‘Little Woodhouse Student Village’ in the next draft of the Planning Framework for Kirkstall Road Renaissance Area, and to contributing to its development.

Appendix: Little Woodhouse Student Village

Established: Sentinel Towers, Cavendish St (243)
20/80/04 Burley Rd: Leeds 1 (1003)
20/290/02 Cavendish St: UNITE (c500)
20/401/02 Cavendish St: RSPCA (outline)
20/447/03 Park Ln/Belle Vue Rd: RMP (363)
20/648/01 West St/Marlborough St: Pinnacle (c630)
26/360/01 Park Lane/Hanover Sq: Rushbond (70)
26/201/03 Westfield/Burley Rd: Chinacorp (305)

Leeds HMO Lobby, July 2005


Leeds HMO Lobby
email: hmolobby@hotmail.com website: www.hmolobby.org.uk/leeds