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Residents in tiny Leeds hamlet fighting golf club’s ‘outrageous’ expansion plans that will ‘annihilate’ village

Villagers in a tiny hamlet in north Leeds say they are fighting a “David and Goliath” battle against multi-million-pound plans to extend a golf club in the heart of greenbelt land.

Leeds Golf Center has submitted plans for a giant extension to its clubhouse in Wike, with councillors set to make a decision later today [Thursday]. The blueprints include visions to extend the clubhouse into a three-storey building with spa facilities, a two-storey floodlit driving range and 35 eco-friendly holiday homes.

The scheme has been backed by the likes of Yorkshire County Cricket Club and the Leeds-based charity Children’s Heart Surgery Fund, but local residents have opposed the “horrifying” plans which have been described as looking like “an out-of-town shopping center “. A wave of objections has been seen more than 600 people rally against the project.

Read more: Fury after golf club seizes protest signs in row over ‘Center Parcs’ plan that could dwarf Leeds village

Ann Stead has lived in Wike for almost 50 years and she fears the new development would “annihilate” the village.

“The plans are horrifying,” she said. “You would have to be very mean-spirited to stop people playing golf, but this is a huge commercial venture. It’s not really a case of playing golf anymore.

“There are 26 houses in Wike at the moment. The 35-holiday homes would overgrow the footprint of the whole village.”



An artist’s impression of the new eco lodges planned at the Leeds Golf Center

Not only does the design include an extended clubhouse and dozens of holiday homes, but there are also proposals to add an adventure golf area and a footgolf course. The car park would also be expanded from 204 to 230 spaces, with an extra 41 separate parking bays set aside for guests using the lodges.

The golf center is run by Leeds property firm, The Parklane Group, who have said they have reduced the proposed number of lodges from 37 to 35. A spokesperson added the new development would be “an incredible addition to Leeds”.

However, villagers are concerned about the increase in traffic in “a quiet country village with narrow roads”. Ann said there are already substantial issues with road users, both in terms of the number of cars passing through the village and the speed at which they travel.



Signs have been erected in Wike to express the level of opposition against the expansion plans at Leeds Golf Center
Signs have been erected in Wike to express the level of opposition against the expansion plans at Leeds Golf Center

“I can’t even sit in my garden in the summer,” she said. “It’s like being on the edge of the M1.”

David Marsden only moved to Wike a year ago “to enjoy the peace and quiet.” He is now facing the prospect of a giant new development being built on his doorstep.

He said: “I run a business so I am familiar with the need to achieve financial success, but the roads are narrow, there are no facilities here and the development in its current state is more than doubling the size of the village. It’s not reasonable.

“When I looked at the plans, I saw there were going to be more holiday homes than houses in the village. We are all really surprised and shocked. It’s the sheer scale of the development in a very small, rural hamlet.”



Artist impressions of how the proposed redeveloped clubhouse would look from the rear. Pictures from Park Lane Group (copyright approval given).

His major concern is the example it would set if the plans are approved. Despite the golf center being in the heart of greenbelt land, he is worried for other communities if the proposals for the “Center Parcs style” development go ahead.

“It would set a real precedent,” he said. “If this was allowed, there would be no safe areas [in Leeds]. It would allow other developers to say: ‘There’s the precedent, it happened in Wike’.”

Another villager, who did not wish to be named, only moved to Wike six months ago, but is already concerned the value of his property will plummet if the plans are approved.

“I’ve put my life’s savings into my new home,” he said. “I specifically wanted to move somewhere that is greenbelt because I knew you are not allowed to build on the greenbelt. I thought we’d be safe.”

Not only has he raised concerns about the construction traffic which he says would result in noise “morning to night”, but he has also slammed the plans as “ludicrous”.

“I think they are completely outrageous,” he added. “I can’t believe somebody would submit something like that.

“I don’t actually mind what they have got there at the moment. At least it fits in with the countryside, but this new thing is like an out-of-town shopping center. It just doesn’t fit in at all. It’s three storeys and there is going to be a driving range which will be lit at all hours of the night.

“There’s no way it should ever be allowed to go through. The village will be ruined.”

Naveen Ahmed, managing director of The Parklane Group, said: “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 into projects we truly believe will make a difference – and we feel this will.”

A final decision on the scheme could be announced today [Thursday]. Leeds City Council’s planning committee are meeting to discuss to proposals at 1.30pm this afternoon. You can watch the proceedings unfold here.

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