Crowdfunding Appeal is http://www.localgiving.org/appeal/greenbeltlegalfees/
The Leeds Site Allocation Plan with its deletion of 4 Green Belt sites in Aireborough (Ings Lane, Wills Gill, Hollins Hill, Guiseley and Victoria Avenue Yeadon) has left local residents upset and dismayed. They feel that through the years of consultation since 2013 their serious concerns have simply been ignored.
Residents are rightly concerned about the importance of these sites to the landscape and historic character of the area and the fact they still fulfil the purposes of Green Belt – particularly protecting the countryside, discouraging sprawl, and in separating Guiseley and Menston.
But, of greater concern, is the sustainability issues of developing these area, the flooding, traffic congestion and air pollution: especially since Aireborough has already built more than its target share of housing between 2012 and 2017 with little supporting infrastructure. Further, these now ex Green Belt sites are not best suited for the type of housing Aireborough actually does need eg smaller housing for first time buyers and downsizers.
All this, or course, is before we even get to what is happening on the Bradford side of the border at Menston (133 houses Bingley Road, currently), Burley in Wharfedale (500 at Sun Lane), Esholt (150 on the old filter beds) and Apperley Bridge (which just keeps growing with another application just in) !!
The ANDF has therefore taken legal advice from a Barrister and consulted with several solicitors to determine if there is a case for residents to ask a court for a judicial review of the Leeds Site Allocation Plan regarding Aireborough.
In particular circumstances where it is felt there have been failures and irregularities that have caused ‘substantial prejudice’ to residents a judicial review can be brought within six weeks of the Site Allocation Plan being adopted. This is the only way residents can now bring a challenge – you cannot challenge simply because you do not like the decision.
The legal conclusion is that Aireborough residents do have good grounds to bring such a challenge via a judicial review and that it has reasonable prospects of success.
The Forum has therefore decided to go ahead with a challenge on behalf of Aireborough residents and now seeks to raise up to £40,000 for the legal fees this will entail. This has to be done by 21st August 2019. The fees are to employ a specialist planning barrister and a firm of solicitors who know the complexity of planning law, are aware of case-law, and have some understanding of the complicated situation in Leeds and Aireborough.
We have set up an appeal page on Local Giving, which you can find here. If just 4,000 of Aireborough’s 28,000 residents give £10 each, that is our target. If you would like to donate but would prefer our bank account details or to send a cheque please email Secretary Liz Kirkpatrick on firstname.lastname@example.org. If you would like to hold a fundraising event then also let Liz know.
It is felt in legal circles we have a strong case and the Forum feels it has to take this action, given the evidence, for the wellbeing of our area. We are aware also that Stuart Andrew MP is seeking a call-in of the Leeds SAP from the Secretary of State, but the change in Government may make this difficult and we are time limited by the six weeks.
Our ultimate aim is to ensure that Aireborough has a sustainable Neighbourhood Plan that finds more suitable sites for the type of housing the area needs whilst at the same time, improving the quality of our landscape, green spaces and facilities and helps address major issues such as traffic and transport. We have gathered a lot of evidence for the Neighbourhood Plan with help from local people and planning experts such as The Academy of Urbanism and we would like to see this used to good effect.