Plans to remove trees in housing development project anger volunteers at Rodley Nature Reserve

By Jean Baron

Volunteers at Rodley Nature Reserve oppose overhaul of housing plans at nearby settlement Airedale Mills to place.

Detailed proposals for 66 new homes were first submitted in December and include layout, scale, appearance and landscaping. They include a range of housing types and an apartment building.

But administrators of the reserve say this week that documents submitted by developers to Leeds City Council this week detail changes to a proposed ecological buffer, which would act as a wildlife corridor between the development and the River Aire.

They say that for an ecological buffer to serve its purpose, it must be nearly continuous and undisturbed by public access to provide refuge for wildlife. In a statement posted on social media, the reserve’s administrators say:

“It is now apparent that many trees in the buffer zone need to be removed or pruned, including the two magnificent weeping willows and a path created near the river.

“If this were achieved, it would undermine the whole purpose of the area which, among other things, is known to be used by otters.

“Not only are the trees currently part of an ecological buffer, but they also provide a screen for the reserve that will protect its wildlife from the disturbance caused by the sight of daily human activity in the development and help to dampen the noise from it.

The Reserve calls on the local community to oppose The planning application can be viewed in its entirety here.

More than a dozen trees could be felled, with an independent arboreal report saying many would have to be felled “for arboreal reasons”.

Nearly 50 objections were made by local residents and councilors against the request.

The site, off Moss Bridge Road and Rodley Town Street, has been empty since the 1970s and is bordered by the Leeds-Liverpool Canal and the River Aire.

A separate plan to build a bridge over the River Aire to provide access to the nature reserve already has planning permission, but faced delays which had an impact on both the nature reserve and the Rodley Cricket Club.

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