The papers are now out on the Leeds City Council website for the Housing Site Allocations Plan Meeting, of the Development Plans Panel, on 26 June, 10am, Civic Hall; which members of the public can attend.
Looking through the papers quickly the key ones are
1. Aireborough HMCA Area (Housing Market Characteristic Area)
2. 001 Publication Draft Plan
3. 7 Site Allocation Plan Publication Draft.
4. Sustainability Appraisal Report
If passed, the site allocations plan will go to Executive Board in July for approval. After that, there will be a public consultation, probably in early Autumn 2015, when the public will be able to give their views.
After that, the plan will go to the Department of Communities and Local Government for them to appoint an Inspector to say if the plan is in line with the National Planning Policy Framework and Guidance (NPPF and NPPG). The Inspector’s hearings will be in public, and members of the public will be allowed to give evidence if they said in the public consultation they wished to do so – we encourage people to do that at the relevant time. If the Inspector approves the site allocation plans, they will be adopted as part of the Local Plan.
Skimming through the papers, there is very little change from the site allocations accepted in January 2015 by Development Plans Panel and the Executive Board in February 15. The only changes spotted are
- Low Mills has been dropped out – meaning Aireborough’s target is now 2244, rather than 2366.
- The PAS (or Safeguarded Land) site 4043, the top of Ings Lane has had 24 houses added to it, making a total of 114. Leeds didn’t want to leave a green belt gap !
- One of the PAS sites in Rawdon has also had its total increased.
PAS land is land that is taken out of the green belt (if it is in) and can be built on if required because there is not enough housing supply. It is the reason why Menston Derry Hill and Bingley Road was put forward for development, and why Moons Field was built on.
As you will all know, Leeds has not changed its net housing target from 70,000 on the basis of Feb 15 ONS household data, which showed that households are only expected to increase in the plan period by around 45,000. The latest estimates Leeds has of housing numbers that we know of, and this was based on old data and done for schools was 60,000. Leeds claim the extra houses are needed because of a large increase in employment, and their calculations assume everyone who works in Leeds lives in Leeds.
The majority of new site allocations in Aireborough are green belt, and Leeds claim they are the sites that cause ‘least harm to the five green belt purposes’. They also say they have tried hard to “minimise changes to green belt boundaries” (point 2.33 of Site Allocation Publication Draft). Details of the exceptional circumstances Leeds are claiming for taking these sites out of green belt have not yet been found.
The majority of Aireborough sites are planned for phase 2, but there are not timescales on this, they will just follow on sequentially from phase 1, especially if Leeds does not have a 5 year land supply – another issues made worse by a high housing target.
Para 1.17 of the Site Allocation Plan says that Neighbourhood Planning Groups have been consulted. We haven’t. The only consultation Leeds did was to ask us all if we had found any additional sites.
However, the ANDF in April proactively did ask Leeds if they would be prepared to look at our own sustainability assessments, copies here; Para 5.1.3 of the Plan acknowledges these reports and says Leeds are looking through these and will respond during the meeting
Leeds Bradford Airport
Another point to be aware of, is that at the Development Plan Panel of 16th June, there was a long discussion about an additional employment site at the Airport. The Airport want 36h of green belt land, north of the airport as an industry hub. This has now found favour with Leeds City Region, and is supported by the Chief Planning Officer.
It was expected that this site would be waved through last week, however, certain panel members, including Cllr Colin Campbell, and Cllr John Procter, wanted to see the evidence for the need for this site first. Leeds said they were preparing a report on this Airport expansion, which included a report on the lack of employment facilities in Outer North West Leeds. This report will be discussed on 26th June. There is also a discussion that this extension will mean the link road across the side of Rawdon Billing from the A65 will go ahead.
Area Action Plan
In 2006 it was put forward by the then Pudsey MP, Paul Truswell, that Aireborough needed what is known as an Area Action Plan – a detailed plan that shows how an area will take major development and change. The Aire Valley is the only area to have such a plan in the current Leeds Core Strategy. The ANDF believes that with all these changes, plus those planned by Bradford on our border, from Apperley Bridge to Baildon to Menston and Burley, that we too need an Area Action Plan. This piecemeal development is just not adequate for the major, major changes that are being planned for our urban/rural fringe.