JD Wetherspoon turns to planning inspectorate over Leeds planning application saga

By Georgina Townshend contact

- Last updated on GMT

Wetherspoon turns to planning inspectorate over planning application
Negotiations for a new JD Wetherspoon (JDW) site in Leeds have turned sour after council members deferred the pubco’s planning application for a third time in a year

At a planning meeting on 17 August, Leeds City Council deferred a JDW application once again to change the use of a doctors’ surgery and pharmacy, in Austhorpe Road, to a pub with a beer garden.

In response JDW has appealed to the Planning Inspectorate after “losing confidence that a fair and balanced decision will be made”.

According to the council minutes, the plans were deferred for “further negotiations” on several aspects, including opening hours of the beer garden, and to seek an increase in the off-site highway contribution.

‘Unworkable from an operational perspective’

“We are appealing the application as having sought to meet officers’ changing requirements over the past 12 months and eventually achieving a recommendation of approval, the application was deferred for a third time at planning committee in August,” said a JDW spokesman. 

“Members have requested further changes to the scheme, some of which are contrary to the changes already made to satisfy officers’ earlier concerns and some are unworkable from an operational perspective and without technical justification.”

Since the original submission, the application has received in total 529 letters of objection, and 176 letters of support.

Reasons for objection include “deliveries causing accidents on the road, a large increase in on-street parking, noise disturbance, and an increase in antisocial behaviour”.

Reasons for support, however, include an “increase of jobs in the area, with the current building needing renovation”.

Confidence has been lost

The JDW spokesman continued: “The scheme has attracted a lot of attention during the course of the application and matters have become very political, with objectivity being lost in the decision-making process and confidence lost in a fair and balanced decision being made. 

“In order to move matters forward on what we consider is a good quality scheme which addresses all technical issues and satisfies planning policy, the application has been appealed on the grounds of non-determination as this will ensure that the scheme is assessed on a fair and objective basis.”

Further consideration wanted

In response, a spokesman for Leeds City Council said: “Our north and east plans panel considered the application in some detail, given the extensive objections from some local residents, and wanted further consideration to be given to some of the detailed impacts of the conversion.

“It's unfortunate that JD Wetherspoon haven't continued the dialogue with the local authority, but we recognise it is their right as the applicant to ask for an inspector to review the scheme.”

Related topics: Property law, JD Wetherspoon

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