The weather was as awful as it could possibly be; driving rain and wind; but this only lent a greater sense of solidarity to the occasion, as people gathered at either end of Aireborough to demand that Leeds and Bradford Local Authorities ‘Listen to the People’s Voice On Planning’, and not build on the green belt that separates communities so creating urban sprawl.
The marches were part of a national campaign organized by Community Voice on Planning, and run by different local action groups; the Rawdon/Horsforth march was organized by Rawdon Green Belt Action Group, with the theme of ‘Listen to Us, Leeds City Council’, and the Menston/Guiseley one was organized by Menston & Guiseley Green Belt Protection Group with the theme of ‘Joined up thinking, not joined up communities’.
However, many other groups also joined in; for example, the Rawdon March was joined by 5 action groups from Bradford, and the Guiseley march had people from Menston Action Group, and other Wharfedale Groups eg Ilkley. The marches showed that even if Local Councils fail in their ‘Duty to Co-Operate’ across boundaries, local people are increasingly joining forces.
Marchers carried messages about the dire state of the area’s infrastructure, due to past over-development; which people have told Leeds Council about at every public consultation.
And protested over individual sites and villages
But it was the home-made signs that gave the best indication of how strongly people feel about what is being planned: which was just as well given the number of Councillors and political candidates that attended the Rawdon March.
On the Guiseley, Menston boundary, motorists in the Sunday traffic were encouraged to ‘honk’; and did in large numbers; White Cross was an even noiser place than usual
Whilst Layton Lane, suddenly got very busy
And the paths around Ings Lane very muddy
The youngest participants to march were less than 1 and the oldest 92 with every age in between. Everyone young and old will be affected by the over-development in Aireborough. A key point of what is being done if for the young people; yes they will need houses, but they also need an environment that is good for their wellbeing; (great signs girls).
So the messages today to Leeds and Bradford Councillors and National Politicians were
Well done to all the organizers, and participants, and especially Briony Sloan of the Rawdon Green Belt Action Group, and Liz Kirkpatrick of the Menston & Guiseley Green Belt Protection Group.