Developers’ plans to expand an out-of-town shopping centre in south Leeds got the thumbs up from Leeds City Council this afternoon.
Councillors voted unanimously to approve plans by Land Securities and the Evans Property Group to add a multiplex cinema, restaurants, cafes and some new shops to the White Rose Centre in Morley, as well as expand the existing Debenhams and Primark stores there and build a new car park.
It’s an approval “in principle” that comes with conditions.
Councillors sitting on the city’s main planning panel insisted, for example, that they want the developers to cough up more cash than the £400,000 currently on the table for a contingency fund that would ensure that if there are traffic and transport problems that need sorting in the future it’s the developers who’ll pay, not the council.
The plans have got to be approved too by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government before the builders move in.
But unless we hear otherwise – and it’s unlikely we will – it’s a done deal.
What about the objections, I hear you ask?
Weren’t Bradford Council and local Bradford investors – including the people behind the Westfield development and the Leisure Exchange – saying they were strongly against the expansion?
Weren’t Westfield’s objections – that a White Rose with a bigger retail and leisure offer would pose a potential threat to the long-postponed start of its Bradford development – all over the radio this morning?
Weren’t Wakefield and Kirklees councils objecting too?
But no-one turned up at today’s Leeds Civic Hall planning sesh to challenge the plans – not even serial objector to “out-of-town” retail Hammerson, the developer of the forthcoming Victoria Gate retail and leisure development in Leeds city centre.
Wasn’t Hammerson saying the White Rose plans would threaten Victoria Gate’s ability to attract retailers for its first phase and an operator for its planned cinema in phase two?
But, given that none of the objectors turned up, none of their objections were discussed by the Leeds councillors on the panel.
The more I go to planning meetings, the more confused I am about how this stuff works.