On Wednesday last the Aireborough Neighbourhood Forum travelled to London to meet with a team from the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG), to discuss issues with developing a neighbourhood plan, (which contained the vision, and issues for the area put forward by local people), at the same time as Leeds City Council are developing a site allocation plan, with no vision for the area.
The meeting was arranged by Stuart Andrew MP for Pudsey at our request; and the same morning we received a letter from Greg Mulholland MP for Leeds North West (Aireborough spans both constituencies) which had answers to some of our specific questions regarding planning rules and green belt as well as Localism. A final support for our discussions arrived in the nick of time, in the form of a draft Green infrastructure and Centres section of the Neighbourhood Plan, pulled together from the Forum’s evidence base by AECOM, our Urban Designers.
We could therefore actually show the DCLG team the physical output of the Aireborough Vision and Landscape, and compare to the Leeds Site Allocation Plan (SAP) for Aireborough. Darren Sanderson’s photograph or the landscape significantly added to the presentation of the plan. We explained that Leeds City Council had not taken the Neighbourhood Plan work into account in the SAP, and that neither the Forum or Rawdon Parish Council, had been involved in the drawing up of the SAP.
DCLG confirmed that an emerging Neighbourhood Plan (NP) was a material consideration to the SAP consultation and the Inspector’s Hearing, and that the Forum was entitled to carry on the NP work as we saw fit, following the right process of engagement and building the sustainability assessment on the evidence base. Leeds City Council may or may not take the emerging NP into consideration after the consultation, but the Planning Inspector certainly would.
DCLG also gave us some technical advice on answering some specific planning points eg exceptional circumstances and green belt.
Once we have got the SAP Pop-UP and the Forum’s own response to the SAP Plan out of the way. We will be outlining a programme of community input to the draft plan AECOM have put together for us, as well as looking at how we take the analysis and results of the Housing Needs survey forward. (If you haven’t yet filled in a Survey you will find one here.)
Dates and Places for the SAP Pop-Ups Advice Sessions are as Follows
- RAFA Club, New Rd, Yeadon 22nd October 3-7pm
- Morrisons Guiseley on 31st October, all day
- Queensway School on 4th November 4.30 -8pm
- And to wrap up in the final week of the consultation, we’ll have a drop in exhibition and advice/help session in Guiseley Methodist Church, 11th November 2-7pm
Our guidance for SAP responses is here we’ll be adding some site specific information produced by the different site groups this week.
We have a Local Giving Campaign to raise money for the Pop-Ups here – thank you so much for all the money donated so far by generous residents. The aim is you donate up to £10, and that is match funded by Local Giving, so we get £20, plus gift aid.
One Final Point on Responses
The site allocation consultation is for all shades of opinion, the results of our survey to date, show that people are not against housing, just unsustainable housing, and the lack of investment in facilities and infrastructure. Aireborough has had nearly 3,400 houses build since the year 2000, with next to no increase in facilities and infrastructure and the area has been significantly changed with the loss of employment – you cannot ‘dump’ more houses, without thinking seriously about how they will be supported by all the things that make a place to live, and consider the essential character of the area – all of which are in the National Planning Policy Framework as considerations.
In addition, we cannot trust developers to provide some of the infrastructure needed, as we now have a lot of experience of being let down on the conditions of planning permissions – from traffic lights at Hollins Hill, to High Royds, to Parkinson’s Park and Springhead Mills. Developers are house builders, not place-makers !!
- If you support housing sites chosen – then write a response saying why the Leeds Plan is sustainable. Or what is needed to do to make it so. Let us know too firstname.lastname@example.org
- Maybe you think just part of a site is suitable for housing, rather than the whole one – then write a response saying which part. Let us know too email@example.com
- If you have another site in mind, a smaller site, or one suitable for self-build – the consultation is for you too – tell Leeds and ourselves.
- If you live in a new home – the consultation is for you. Does the area live up to expectation’s, can we support a bigger population? How?
There is a lot of work to do, but it all carries weight – and that is official.