Civic society concerns over lack of space for residents of city centre affordable homes
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The properties look set to be built on the site of council-owned land at Kirkgate.
The site was once occupied by Chantry House, which housed the local authority’s council tax and highways departments.
The “eyesore” building was demolished in 2020 and had been empty since 2006.
The land, next to the West Yorkshire History Centre, was acquired around five years ago as part of a wider plan to regenerate the Kirkgate area.
Councillors are being asked to approve the scheme, which includes building a block of 24 apartments and 26 houses.
The four-storey apartment block will contain 11 one-bed and 13 two-bed properties.
Fourteen three-bed houses will be for “affordable rent”, with 12 three-bed houses for shared ownership.
Wakefield Civic Society said it “welcomed” the site being used for affordable housing but has “concerns” over a report which says some of the homes will not meet “minimum space requirements”.
Society president Kevin Trickett said future tenants could be affected by noise from traffic on Kirkgate roundabout.
In a letter commenting on the scheme, Mr Trickett said: “Overall, the style of the proposed scheme works well for the site in what will be a highly visible location.
“It is disappointing to see that some of the new units will fall short of the minimum space requirements and also have very small garden areas.
“Given the urban setting and the proximity to busy roads, it is important that children should have somewhere safe to play outdoors.”
Commenting on the noise concerns, Mr Trickett said: “Proximity to the traffic on the roundabout means that the scheme appears to fail conventional standards on noise pollution.
“The technical assessment explains how the residents of the row of houses facing the roundabout will not be able to open the windows of their home without experiencing discomfort from traffic noise of a type that continues day and night.
“The failure to open windows will in turn lead the houses to overheat in the summer and is contrary to policies…in favour of healthy living and healthy places.”
Mr Trickett added: “Our position is that the proposals, while welcome in principle, need further work to make this the high quality, sustainable development that we had hoped to see on this site.”
Addressing the concerns, an officer’s report says: “It is noted that some dwellings do not meet the nationally described space standards.
It adds: “Any shortfalls are relatively minor and the size of the properties are considered to be acceptable overall.”
The reports says a children’s play area is near to the site and that the new homes will include “noise mitigation measures” including double glazing and a “whole house mechanical ventilation system”.
The report adds: “The scheme would result in a high standard of housing environment.
“The proposed development would bring about the redevelopment of a prominent city centre location, providing 100 per cent affordable housing to meet the existing need that exists in the district.”
The council has used £1.6m of funding to clear the land of buildings which “blighted” the entrance to the city centre.
Chantry House was considered to be an eyesore by residents and businesses who said it gave a poor impression of one of the main routes into the city centre.