J M W Turner 1835 - The Day the Houses of Parliament Burnt Down

J M W Turner 1835 – The Day the Houses of Parliament Burnt Down

On a dusty shelf in the depths of Leeds and Bradford Town Halls sits their ‘Statements of Community Involvement on Planning’. Shiny new in 2004, Leeds’ SCI hasn’t been updated since 2007.


On another dusty shelf in London, sits a promise dated 2011 – “shape the place you live” (Localism Act).

Both Statement and Promise, have ‘worked so well’ that the planning Action Group ‘industry’, now runs the length and breadth of England and would contribute substantially to GDP, if time and effort alone were counted.

Neither Government OR Local Authorities, listen to the people’s voice on planning. Leeds City Region Authorities (Leeds, Bradford, Kirklees, Wakefield, Harrogage, York, Selby, Craven, Calderdale, Barnsley) have even formed a Planning Portfolio Board, in another layer of Government, that shadowily operates without properly informing elected Councillors at the City level.

So, today, Community Voice on Planning, ( have organized a day of action, to bring it home to local candidates for both City and National elections that people will not sit by and watch the wellbeing, natural resources and character of their communities destroyed.

Our area has 3 EVENTS TODAY, you can go and support.

MENSTON/GUISLEY – 12.30pm, march to demonstrate the green belt boundary line between the settlements. This could be destroyed by current plans by both Leeds and Bradford. Meet, Mire Beck, opposite BP Garage on A65. See Menston and Guiseley Green Belt Protection Facebook Page.

RAWDON/HORSFORTH/GREENGATES – 1pm, march to demonstrate the green belt boundary, and threatened sites between Rawdon and Horsforth. To be joined by Bradford action groups from the area. Meet, Jubilee Hall, Rawdon. See Rawdon Green Belt Action Group Facebook Page.

WHARFEDALE – 2PM, meet Cow and Calf to show solidarity between the settlements from Addingham to Aireborough regarding the plans by both Leeds and Bradford to build nearly 6,000 houses along this A65 corridor.


Ebenezer Howard’s Advertisement for Welwyn Garden City

Planning was introduced at cusp of the 19th/20th centuries by people who had seen the dangers of urbanism, industrialization and ribbon developments on wellbeing and landscape. People like Ebenezer Howard (Garden Cities), Salt/Cadbury/Lever (Model villages), CPRE/National Trust (better land use), Ambercrombie/Unwin (Town Planners). Their work has stood the test of time.

If the country needs to rethink planning, because of population growth, it needs thinkers like these, and ALL should be involved, democratically, in that discussion. It should not be imposed by NIMBY politicians – where do they live??? Self-Interested volume house builders – who do not know or have responsibility for infrastructure and placemaking. And the vast number of planning consultants who have spotted a commercial opportunity for themselves.  There are of course members of all these groups who do care about making better communities, but these tend to be as individuals, not as ‘groups or organizations’.