Councillors warned not to fight appeal over controversial Morley greenfield housing

Councillors sitting on a planning panel in Leeds are being warned not to fight an appeal lodged with the Planning Inspectorate over the construction of 92 houses on a greenfield site in Morley.

Developer Persimmon Homes lodged the appeal after a Leeds City Council planning panel last month rejected a recommendation from council officers to give the controversial development at Daisy Hill the go-ahead.

Now the council’s chief planning officer is telling councillors meeting to discuss the appeal next week that the council could end up with costs being awarded against it if the appeal is contested.

The housing development has faced significant opposition from local residents, the action group Morley Against Reckless Construction (MARC) and Morley Town Council.

And councillors on the city’s old plans panel (East) decided in September that they couldn’t back the development either because they believed the scheme was not sustainable – the local infrastructure – schools, health, public transport, drainage – couldn’t cope.

Unsubstantiated grounds

In a report going to next week’s meeting, the chief planning officer warns that none of the councillors’ objections would hold water at a Planning Inspectorate appeal. The application meets all of the council’s “policy tests”, the report says.

“Members (councillors) are advised it is difficult to justify sustainability as a grounds for refusal. Where the policy test has been met it is extremely difficult to justify a refusal…”, it says.

“The Council risks an award of costs by contesting the planning appeal on grounds which cannot be substantiated,” it adds. Costs could also be awarded if it could be demonstrated that the council has acted unreasonably.

In 2011, the council ended up with legal bills running into tens of thousands of pounds after it lost a series of appeals brought by developers who were refused planning permission to build on greenfield land.

Following those expensive defeats the council changed its policy and released a substantial number of greenfield sites (known as Phase 2 and 3 sites) for development, including the site at Daisy Hill.

Different panel

In a further twist to the story, it just so happens that following a recent reorganisation of the council’s planning panels it is a different set of councillors on a different planning panel that is going to discuss what to do about the appeal next week.

The chief planning officer sees this coincidental personnel change as an opportunity to minimise the risk of costs.

“Members are strongly recommended to indicate that they would have approved the application had they been in a position to do so,” the report says. “It is considered that this will serve to help the Council in defending against any claim that the Council has acted unreasonably.”

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32 Responses to Councillors warned not to fight appeal over controversial Morley greenfield housing

  1. Bywater blog says:

    Is it the case that the Morley MBI Councillors that are objecting, were in partnership with the ruling Councillors that made this land at Daisy Hill (known as Phase 2 and 3 sites) suitable land for development?

  2. You mean was there an MBI councillor on the executive board that decided to release the land in June 2011? Yes, but I don’t know if he agreed or not.

    • Gavin says:

      Bywaterblog no the the Leeds Unitary Development Plan was started in 1991/2 and was adopted under Labour controlled Leeds City Council back in 2001/2. The Leeds Citizen. this land was taken out of green belt back in 2001/2 and was allocated protected area of search. That means it’s going to have housing that land in future years. No the MBI Councillor didn’t decided to release the land as I ve said it was Labour in 2001/2.

  3. Hi Gavin, are you saying the land isn’t Phase 2? Chief Planning Officer says in report: “The application is on a Phase 2 allocated Greenfield site within the settlement of Morley”. Issue of “protected area of search” didn’t get a mention at September plans panel meeting, according to minutes. If I’ve got it wrong, please tell me.

  4. Morleylad says:

    The land at Daisy Hill is indeed Phase 2, and was released in June 2011. Robert Finnigan is not on record as voting against this decision and indeed he was part of the Labour group on LCC when the original UDP was being formed (until Labour forced him to stand down in 1998 for mis-use of council computers)
    The Daisy Hill site was always going to be built on, just a matter of when.

    In this matter, as in too many others, the Morley Borough Independents are grandstanding for political gain, and finally the officers have had to resort to putting in writing that “enough is enough”.

    I wonder if Finnigan could be surcharged for the public money he is wasting?

  5. Dave Paul (MARC) says:

    Dave P
    Talking Daisy hill
    Leeds has many boarded up and unused housing stock within its boundary why do they have to build on green belt .60,000 + sites land banked this is criminal.
    Take the big stick to put fear into people and they will back down .Sorry MARC will stand up and stand its ground so council stand by your principles and listen to the people who live and work in this city not those who want to cover it with concrete once green belt has gone it

  6. Mrs Patrica Aston says:

    I don’t know if Robert Finnegan was involved in the original release of this land or not, but luckily in this country anyone can change their opinion as their knowledge of a situation increases. All I know is that Robert Finnegan now fights for Morley and it’s residents and many of us are grateful for that. Dave Paul is right, they are trying to intimidate us and we won’t back down. This land is wrong for housing, there are too many valid factors against, but of course profit is at stake here and therefore Persimmon will persist. Incidentally, I remember King George Croft being built opposite my house. The first walls they put up fell down by morning, such is the drainage problems around here. The solutions offered by Persimmon to the drainage problems alone are not good enough, but of course why should spend money doing it properly when they can get away with a quick fix.

  7. freedomnow66 says:

    The goal posts have been moved, the problems associated with the site have all been answered!! The solutions now fit the goverments criteria for bodging!!! Unfortunately u have to dig deeper than what’s on the surface, anyone heard of Agenda 21 ???? It’s a piece of soft legislation agreed to by all the governments of the world under the auspices of the united nations . Don’t take my opinion, what it is, go and research it… it’s 10 yrs old and it’s just getting it’s teeth!!!!

  8. freedomnow66 says:

    Soft yes,but the problem with soft is that it’s very much open to interpretation!! I know what’s happening on Daisy hill seems a million miles from the UN in New York City, but people with agenda’s don’t work in your face all aggressive, no they just do things legally and by the book… the thing is were all to busy earning a living to notice till it too late!!! Why do u think they want to destroy the middle class? We need the middle class to watch our backs whilst we get on grafting!!! All this is insidious!!! Good luck with your fight, but I’m sorry to say I think the deck is stacked against you!!! If u lose, make sure at the next election those who represent you and don’t fight with you, lose there job!!!

  9. Morleylad says:

    “Mrs Patrica Aston says:

    October 8, 2012 at 4:22 pm

    I don’t know if Robert Finnegan was involved in the original release of this land or not, but luckily in this country anyone can change their opinion as their knowledge of a situation increases. All I know is that Robert Finnegan now fights for Morley and it’s residents and many of us are grateful for that.”

    Yes he was, and he has known from the 90s that it was allocated housing land – and indeed voted for it to be so, as he was part of the Labour group at the time.

    He hasn’t changed his opinion at all – why should he, he lives and works in Kirklees, his Morley connections are purely tenuous – but he will take any position which will benefit the so-called “party” he leads.

    Please don’t let Robert Finnigan and his acolytes con you any more.

    And the planning has been approved, as we all knew it would

  10. Mrs Patrica Aston says:

    I attended both planning meetings, first one the chairman was anxious to pass the plans but got massively outvoted, then it was passed to a second panel (very fishy). The Persimmon bigwigs attended this, looking smug before it even began. Needless to say it was passed by Councillors no doubt eager to foist the new housing on anywhere but their ward. Morleylad can dislike Robert Finnegan if he likes (and obviously he does), but at least the residents here fought this application with Robert’s help. If you don’t fight it you can’t complain at the outcome.

  11. Here is an up date on the Morley Independent Blog about the Daisy Hill and Bruntcliffe Road sites.http://www.morleyindependent.blogspot.co.uk/2012/10/labour-betrayal-in-morley.html

  12. Morleylad says:

    That is not an update, it is a Finnigan rant because he has been found out, and knows his opponents will make his duplicity as public as possible!

  13. Morleylad, You seen to have a problem with Robert!! I think you may be a Labour supporter and I would like to know who is really Morleylad?

  14. Bywater blog says:

    “”You seen to have a problem with Robert!!”” He could be one of many, Labour voters should be ok with Robert, as he is one of their own.

  15. Morleylad says:

    “Morleylad, You seen to have a problem with Robert!! I think you may be a Labour supporter and I would like to know who is really Morleylad?”

    I would like to know if this is the the ex-Labour member called Gareth Beevers, who used to proclaim his true Socialist principles by wearing a “New Labour, New Britain” tie pin when he (somehow) managed to be a Labour member of Morley Parish Council?

    The same one who followed Finnigan’s route, after RF got expelled from the Labour Party?

    Oh dear. Silly boy.

  16. No comment, I like a pint ex tory councillor Paul Jamieson

  17. Morleylad says:

    So, ex-Labour Councillor Beevers (same as Finnigan, of course)
    Which bit of my previous posts are you going to disagree with, in your usual forensic manner ?
    I look forward to your reply 🙂

    PS. Re: identity, try again. 🙂

  18. Morleylad, Come on show your identity don’t be frightened?!?!?

  19. Morleylad says:

    So, ex-Labour Councillor Beevers (same as Finnigan, of course)
    Which bit of my previous posts are you going to disagree with, in your usual forensic manner ?

    Come on, don’t be frightened 🙂

  20. Thomson says:

    This discussion does seem to be going around in circles.

    However, it is very obvious that this Beevers chap appears to be avoiding “Morleylad”‘s question re: which bit of the previous posts he disagrees with?

  21. Gavin says:

    Morleylad, Why don’t you answer Gareth Beevers question then he may answer yours?

    • Dave (MARC) says:

      If we get off the political in fighting and start fighting the issue we might get a result as it is we have to get this back in the spot light or every objection we raise we go to the wall .this plans panel is a waste of time and money and its not on their door step they don’t care. BUT I do so get it together and stop Morley being used as a building site

  22. Morleylad says:

    Finnigan did not vote against the Daisy Hill, Pitt Hill or Bruntcliffe Road applications. When are people going to stop being taken in by the Liversedge-dweller’s (and employee of Kirklees council) grandstanding?
    He has no more to do with Morley than he has with Armley – whose planning applications he can also vote on!

    http://democracy.leeds.gov.uk/documents/g6024/Printed%20minutes%2011th-Oct-2012%2013.30%20South%20and%20West%20Plans%20Panel.pdf?T=1

  23. Dave (MARC), When is your next meeting of Morley Against Reckless Construction? I am sure that Morleylad and Thomson would be interested in turning up to your meeting?

    • Dave (MARC) says:

      The date has not been set but i will put it up on this site for all to see any one is welcome .

      • Dave (MARC) says:

        The date of the next meeting of MARC will be on the 22 of November 7-00 at Morley town hall all are welcome.The meeting runs on a given agenda .
        We will be going over our present situation and looking at our next move BUT it will not be used as a shouting match or abusive behavior.
        Dave Paul Chairman MARC

  24. Dave (MARC), I can’t make this meeting this Thurday because, it’s the Morley Christmas Lights switch-on which will be at 7.00 pm so can you please send my apologies to the meeting.

    Thanks

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