Guide to be updated after shock Dunnies cafe decision?

Dunnies cafe in Otley

Dunnies cafe in Otley

First published in News Wharfedale Observer: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

A document drawn up to protect Otley Conservation Area could be updated following a planning inspector’s shock decision.

The recent decision to uphold an appeal by Gladman Care Homes means a 48 flat home will now be built on the former All Saints Middle School site, off Bridge Street.

It also means Otley will lose the popular Wharfe View Cafe – or Dunnies, as it is better known – and Wharfe View News, both of which stand beside the plot.

Leeds City Council had refused the planning application in June, citing among other reasons concerns over the development’s design and scale and its impact on the Conservation Area.

But the planning inspector, following a public inquiry in November, found in favour of Gladman and concluded that the new home for the over-65s would not cause “significant harm” to the area or neighbouring properties.

The council’s South and West Plans Panel will review that decision when it meets on Thursday, January 9, and hear that a more up to date Otley Conservation Area Appraisal is needed.

The agenda report concludes: “This is naturally a disappointing decision and an appeal that officers did not expect to succeed.

“Design refusals will, however, always depend to an extent on the judgment of the particular Inspector.

“The Otley Conservation Area Appraisal, which dates from 2004, was not perhaps as helpful to the council’s case as it might have been.

“Consideration will now be given to updating this appraisal as they are documents which Inspectors will attach significant weight to.”

The current appraisal was adopted by Leeds City Council at the same time as it extended and designated Otley Conservation Area at the end of 2003.

The document’s introduction states: “This appraisal describes the character of Otley Conservation Area which deserves protection. It sets out which features make the area special and makes suggestions for enhancement.

“Opportunities to bring about enhancement will occur largely when development takes place or through local action.”

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