The Estate is yet to submit a formal planning application. But it has been in constant contact with Leeds planning officers fine tuning the proposals in anticipation. What we do know is that the Estate is attempting to bypass usual planning protocol by claiming that “very special circumstances” exist to support its plans, thereby ignoring all the national, city and village planning policies that would support rejection of the proposals.
The Estate has told planning officers that despite revenues from annual high profile events such as the Leeds Festival and Bramham Horse Trials, it lacks the financial resources to restore and maintain its many listed properties which have suffered years of neglect. The planning loophole would allow it to sell other assets i.e.the land to fund these repairs.
The Council may have to look at this argument and make a judgement. But at the pre-application meeting BAG has insisted that in these “very special circumstances” that the Council follow national guidelines and carefully scrutinise the finances of the proposal and the Estate. As a result, councillors agreed that planning officers should formally investigate the financial details.