Character of the area
The concentric circles of substantial houses with drives are set in well-landscaped plots with generous front gardens edged with brick and stone boundary walls at the back of the verges and footways. This otherwise regular pattern is given specific identity by the highway trees, the rising ground, glimpses of St Chad’s Church spire and the visual relationship with the open spaces, trees and woodland of Beckett Park and the Leeds Met University campus. The views across the Park from the roads and houses next to it are a valued feature of the area.
The houses were constructed in brick, stone and render, with gable-fronted bays. Most were built as two storey family houses (though some were flats with separate front doors or external stairs leading to the first floor flat). Most are semi-detached though a good proportion are detached with substantially larger houses and flats fronting Otley Road. The originally plain-tiled roofs started life generally dormer free, though many have had their large roof spaces converted to use, often as flats with large and out-of-scale dormers.
In recent years the number of houses being converted into shared houses or HMOs for professional people or students has increased significantly. There is a risk that this could permanently alter the social character of the area. However there is currently welcome evidence of more families moving back into the area, providing optimism that there may be an increasing trend away from multi-occupancy. The Council has expressed its support for this trend towards creating a more balanced local community through the introduction of an Article 4 Direction and through the emerging Local Development Framework Core Strategy policy H6.
Key positive characteristics
• Leafy suburb with visually attractive formal suburban character. Generous gardens and planting give privacy, interest and scale
• Many original elements survive, such as walls and gate piers, and a majority of houses retain original architectural features
• 2-storey development with occasional low-key use of attic storey
• Wooded outlook from, and backdrop to, houses and roads – e.g. Church Wood seen from St Chad’s Rise and St Chad’s Drive, the outlook from the Batcliffes, views towards Meanwood Valley woodlands from the top of Beckett Park Drive, views across the park from the roads and houses next to it
• Street trees, some of which date from the 1930s, and mature garden trees, some of which may be survivors from the original parkland landscape
• Pedestrian permeability is aided by the ginnels. Good access to local facilities – shops, restaurants, cinema, buses, parks, etc.
• The resident’s parking scheme is welcomed by residents and has proved successful in protecting the character of the area and improving safety
Extracted from Far Headingley, Weetwood & West Park Neighbourhood Design Statement, Leeds City Council, 2ed, 2014. The whole document is available online at <http://www.leeds.gov.uk/docs/FH%20NDS%20Adoption%20Version.pdf>