OTLEY'S MP has formally objected to the East of Otley planning application.

Alex Sobel said he had been contacted by an unprecedented number of constituents in Otley telling him of their concerns with the proposed development.

He said: "I have objected to the application based on several factors, firstly, the application for Phase One of the development is lacking in detail and does not meet the standard set out in Otley’s Neighbourhood Plan.’

"Numerous concerns have been raised with me regarding the mix, style and quality of proposed housing, the relief road and the wider infrastructure of the development, the building of the school being in Phase two of the build instead of Phase one, how the Biodiversity Net Gain would be meant along with numerous other environmental concerns being expressed and the lack of a full Energy Statement within the application to name a few.

"I am dissatisfied that the development fails to commit to 35 per cent affordable housing even though the development has grown from 550 houses to 700. A development of such size and scale must address the need for affordable housing within Otley.

"There is insufficient detail in both the outline and full planning application about the mix, style and quality of proposed housing. The character of Otley’s housing is key to the town being an attractive place to live in and visit and the local community does not want this diluted by housing that looks like it could be anywhere. Disappointingly there is also no mention of self-build as part of the development. It is therefore impossible to make a judgement at present due to the lack of details provided in the application, with no clear plans for future phases."

Mr Sobel, who represents Leeds North West, added: "This is not an urban development where the only green amenity for some distance may well be the back garden, Otley is an attractive place to live because of its public green spaces, from Wharfemeadows Park to the Chevin. In line with this the development will need open spaces, footpaths and wildlife habitats that are required by local planning policies.

"It is of considerable concern that other than the relief road, none of the promised key infrastructure to support the site is planned within phase one, I do not wish to see the first residents of the new development living with a lack of green space, or having difficulty getting their children into existing schools, the building of the new school must therefore be included in phase one of the development. There needs to be an improvement of safety and environmental measures to the current design, this could include extra cycling facilities and pedestrian walkway, and providing the housing at the edge of the site with a protective green buffer via landscaping, hedging and trees from the road. The cycle ways and pedestrian walkways need to be segregated from the relief road for safety reasons, this would also encourage increased usage and reduce short vehicle journeys.

"We also need to see what the impact will be from the gravel lorry journeys which would result from the planned Midgley Farm gravel extraction to the east of the development, these are omitted for the Transport assessment."

Mr Sobel says the lack of a local shop / community hub as specified in the Otley Neighbourhood Plan also needs to be addressed. He stresses that providing a shop for essentials is paramount and as with the cycleways and pathways will reduce the number of short vehicle journeys into Otley.

He said: "There have been many environmental and technical concerns highlighted in comments from statutory consultees and individuals and groups in the local community, not least by the East of Otley Action Group, Otley and Yeadon Labour Party and Otley Town Council.

"There have been over 700 comments received by Leeds City Planning regarding this application. These must all be given proper consideration and plans must be redrawn to reflect the wide range of issues that are not policy compliant, before I can support them.

"In view of the large number of comments received to the application I have also written to Homes England to ask for the deadline for a deliverable application as part of the Housing Infrastructure Grant be extended until the end of the year.

"I believe that the people of Otley are willing to accept development within the town but not if it means high priced, un-needed housing that does not meet the standard set out in the Neighbourhood Plan."

Vist https://bit.ly/3kxp9Dh to see Mr Sobel's full objections.