Kids safety fears see back-to-back terrace plans near Pinderfields Hospital blocked

Developers had wanted to make the changes but cutting the existing homes in half.
Developers had wanted to make the changes but cutting the existing homes in half.

Fears for the safety of children and pedestrians look to have torpedoed plans to double the number of homes on a small gated estate in Wakefield.

Developers wanted to convert a row of five plush terraced properties into 10 by splitting all of them in half and creating back-to-backs.

The homes are located close to the site of the old Stanley Royd Hospital in Wakefield.

The homes are located close to the site of the old Stanley Royd Hospital in Wakefield.

The houses concerned are on St Faith's Manor, off Bevan Grove, close to the site of the old Stanley Royd mental health hospital. The site can be accessed from the grounds of Pinderfields Hospital.

But the proposals were rejected by Wakefield Council's planning committee, after one councillor described the concept of back-to-backs as something from "pre-war" days.

Others said that the prospect of cramming extra cars onto the road would put children at risk because of the way the homes are designed.

Councillor Stuart Heptinstall said: "My concerns are that the rear of the building, pedestrians of any age can move out into the path of a moving vehicle.

Wakefield east councillor Stuart Heptinstall was one of 10 councillors to vote against the plans, having expressed doubts about safety levels.

Wakefield east councillor Stuart Heptinstall was one of 10 councillors to vote against the plans, having expressed doubts about safety levels.

"I'm really concerned about pedestrians, but especially children, because we know what children can do.

"There's a risk to people here, and that hasn't been designed out of the development."

However, Johnny Elliott, from the council's highways department, said that the designs did meet safety standards.

He said: "I think that those concerns are valid but I think that having the gates there does reduce the risk significantly.

"For this particular development, we've got to look at it in context. The road itself is only about 30 or 40 metres long and vehicles will be travelling between five and 10 miles per hour.

"We've got other developments elsewhere in the district with a similar layout where the roads have speed limits of either 20 or 30 miles per hour. Those don't create safety issues.

"Ultimately we've got to remember people are responsible for their own actions. That applies to pedestrians using the area, but it also applies to cars. It's the responsibility of drivers to drive in a safe manner."

But some elected members pointed out that planning permission for the five houses currently standing on the road was only given in November 2017, and suggested that the infrastructure could not withstand more properties.

Councillor David Jones said: "At best you would have 20 cars in that very small area. It's not an area that's designed for that kind of capacity.

"I'm very, very fearful of allowing this application any further forward. It's a compromise this, and it worries me significantly."

The committee's deputy chairwoman, Elaine Blezard, added: "These are five houses, and we approved that (in 2017). Now they (the developers) are wanting to go to a back-to-back system.

"That was dated pre-war. Why would we commit ourselves and go back to that kind of system. I can't support that."

All but one councillor voted to refuse the application.

Local Democracy Reporting Service