Plans for the construction of up to 35 lodges at Leeds Golf Centre in West Yorkshire are to face public scrutiny this week.
The Parklane Foundation, the charitable arm of The Parklane Group, which runs Leeds Golf Centre, has applied for planning permission to build the accommodation alongside a series of other developments at the Shadwell-based venue, which also include as a clubhouse extension and improvements to its two golf courses.
Most of the 35 single storey eco lodges would be located around a new purpose-built lake and plans have been amended following feedback during the initial planning application process which began in 2018. The entire project has a budget of around £21m.
If approved, the Parklane Foundation says that around 150 construction jobs would be created, along with 72 roles at the new expanded facility, which could potentially add around £3m to the local economy.
The Parklane Foundation is championing the social benefits of the scheme and has offered access to the new facilities to inner city schools as part of wider plans for the project.
Hanif Malik, director of The Parklane Foundation, said: “We want to create a place where everyone feels welcome, no matter what their background or ability, and develop a love of golf while positively benefitting the local economy. The mix of new facilities and eco lodges means the centre can generate more income, be self-sustaining and that in turns supports the charity’s work there.
“As it says in the application, the challenges of the pandemic have put the finances of the wider Parklane Group under serious strain. The Foundation relies on surplus revenues from the wider group to be able sustain and plug the losses made by the golf club, so Leeds Golf Centre needs to become financially viable through this exciting proposed development.”
Naveen Ahmed, managing director of The Parklane Group, added: “Our revised plans are more sympathetic and in keeping with the natural surroundings and we have reduced the size of the clubhouse among other amendments after listening to feedback from local residents and stakeholders. These changes don’t detract from what could be an incredible addition to Leeds in terms of sport, leisure tourism and healthy outdoor activity. We’re passionate about Leeds and willing to see investment go in to projects we truly believe will make a difference – and we feel this will.”
Leeds Golf Centre’s plans haven’t received universal support, however, with a report published by Leeds City Council officers recommending that they be rejected on the grounds that they would ‘constitute inappropriate development in the green belt’, while the size of the development ‘would not respect the character of the countryside’.
The report concluded that “whilst the proposal would have some notable benefits in terms of the economy, tourism and community participation it is considered that no special circumstances have been evidenced that are considered sufficient to outweigh the significant harm to the Green Belt’.
Speaking about some the opposition to the development, a spokesman for Leeds Golf Centre said: “It’s important to note that we have received a lot of support for our plans. And we also appreciate others have different views, which is great for open debate and rightly so – it’s this feedback that’s seen us make significant changes to the original planning application. And, in this instance, we did all we could to make sure what we did was right and appropriate.”
The plans are to be considered at a public meeting scheduled for May 12.