John Richardson Chair of the branch says “The plans as they stand fail to give enough detail about the way it will be developed. They don’t say when the school will be built, they don’t give enough detail about how damage to the environment will be minimised and they don’t give enough detail about the quality, design and energy efficiency of the houses. If built I want this to be an exemplar development that demonstrates the very best in house building.”

The Labour Party’s detailed submission identifies many examples of where the plans fail to comply with planning guidance, including the requirements set out in the Otley Neighbourhood Plan which was agreed in a referendum by a huge majority in 2020.

Our submission raises concerns about the lack of detail available about the provision of affordable housing. It states that the Otley and Yeadon Labour Party is firmly committed to the provision of genuinely affordable housing: a significant proportion of which should be offered for rent and shared ownership. It points out that many children who grow up in Otley cannot afford to rent or buy here.

Our objection asks for much more transparency about the profits that the developers expect to make. It highlights the risk that, in order to make excessive profits, the developers are not being explicit about the amount of affordable housing that will be built.

It also challenges the plan to increase from 550 to over 700 the numbers of houses built. It points out that no justification has been provided for this. Increased numbers will put even more pressure on schools and health services and further damage local wildlife habitats.

Along with many other organisations in Otley, the Labour Party has serious reservations about the traffic analysis that has been carried. It has insufficient detail and minimises the impact of many more cars on the road. Our response point out that Otley centre is at least a 15 minute’s walk away and proposes that the development of community facilities such as a local shop/café in a “village hub”could reduce traffic and promote community cohesion.

Our objection also echoes the detailed criticisms of the plans to reduce damage to existing wildlife habitats and create new ones made by Wildlife Friendly Otley and others.

Labour Town Councillor Richard Davies says “The application as it stands is totally inadequate as the basis for the biggest development in Otley for a generation. It fails to comply with the Otley Neighbourhood Plan and will seriously damage our local environment. Local people have a right to expect better and the level and quality of their responses highlights the need for their concerns to be heard.”

Download the full 10 page objection here