East of Otley development: community response (2)

The East of Otley development will add 550 homes and a relief road on the outskirts of Otley. It is the largest local development for decades and is of huge importance to all members of the Otley community. The publicly available plans neither address the priorities of the community as laid out in the Otley Neighbourhood Plan, nor reflect an understanding of recent regional and national commitments to tackle the climate, ecological and inequality crises that we face. There is an opportunity and requirement for an exemplar development, and this is not reflected in the plans. Our community campaign (including Otley 2030, Otley Community Land Trust, Wildlife Friendly Otley, Otley Nature Network and other local community, faith and business groups) will organise working groups and liaise directly with the consortium’s consultants responsible for different elements of the development. The intention is to work through in detail the site masterplan and address conflicts as early as possible, recognising that responsibility for the success of this process does not lie solely with the community. There are strong feelings against the development, and some in support of it, but we believe that the consensus is that IF the development is to go ahead, it needs to honour the Otley Neighbourhood Plan and ‘Do the right thing!' by our community, nature and the planet.

We tried! We engaged with the developers (Otley East Consortium - Persimmon and Leeds City Council), acknowledged the need for more and more affordable housing and attempted to get respect for the Otley Neighbourhood Plan.  We continue to liaise with Town and City Ward Councillors and our MP, and keep them appraised of our work. We've had enormous initial support from the community and raised £5,000 initially.

But now we need a further £6,000 immediately and probably, we think, about £10,000 in addition in order to contest the now validated planning application (Leeds City Council application 21/01671/OT) effectively. It shows no engagement, no acknowledgement and no respect – not for people, not for the community, not for wildlife, not for bio-diversity, not for the climate. Rather than 550 homes and 50 hectares (that were already hugely problematic), we have 700 homes and 57 hectares. The plans now encroach deliberately on greenbelt. There is no definite mitigation for the additional traffic – nor even acknowledgement that there will be any. There is not even an attempt to suggest how there can possibly be the net bio-diversity gain that’s supposed to be a condition of developments. There is not the slightest nod towards the climate crisis and the need to design and build homes that are at least net zero when lived in. There is absolutely no commitment to affordability and access. These plans are WRONG on just about every level we can imagine. The lack of respect for just about everyone and everything is astounding.

 We have engaged the first steps with lawyers but we now need urgently to consult with:
·       Traffic consultants;
·       Landscape architects;
·       Ecologists;
·       Independent experts on greenbelt protection;
·       Air quality experts;

 We’ve taken a flier and commissioned some of these experts. After paying for the first work from lawyers (£2,400) we have committed to pay other consultants a total of £5,900 so we need significant funds straight away. We believe £15,000 will allow us to properly, professionally, effectively and quickly investigate and object to these plans. Please help the community by donating whatever you can.

The sustainable future of our community depends on this development being pursued in the right way. Please support us by donating whatever you can to our community's future.

Visit www.eastofotleyaction.co.uk for more information and advice.

Donations (50)

  • Catherine BARRACLOUGH
    • £216 
    • 2 yrs
  • Anonymous
    • £250 
    • 2 yrs
  • Shannon Coles
    • £20 
    • 2 yrs
  • Elizabeth Simpson
    • £20 
    • 2 yrs
  • Sheila Collins
    • £20 
    • 2 yrs


Martin Gaskin

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