10252084_923620364355322_4817057344232878459_nAireborough’s Neighbourhood Plan has made a good start with an outline Green Masterplan,  put together by planning consultants AECOM over the Autumn of 2015, using the research and input done by the Forum with the help of a large number of local people. (If you are not sure what a Neighbourhood Plan is, a short video explains.)

AECOM are a professional services company who specialise in planning, and transforming communities – they have the contract with the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) to support Neighbourhood Planning groups in their ambitions to create better places to live.  The ANDF applied for support from AECOM in the summer of 2015, and work started in September.

Update on Leeds’ Site Allocations Plan Consultation

The Masterplan project was managed alongside the Leeds Site Allocation Preferred Options (SAP) Consultation  We supported the local community on the SAP with guidance notes, weekly pop-up events,  in the production of detailed site specific sustainability assessments, and a cumulative area response.  All that work went to Leeds City Council in November for consideration in their site allocation plan.

The latest news is that they had a large response, especially from Aireborough, and thus the expected date for the SAP to be publicly inspected by a Planning Inspector is the Spring of 2017.  Originally we thought it would be late Spring 2016.  The SAP faces a number of issues, including

  • some large Leeds sites falling by the wayside
  • an objection by Historic England to a number of Aireborough sites, which need to be reassessed for mitigation against destruction of historic context,
  • developers claiming the plan is unsound as it includes too many sites in phase 1 that have current or expired planning permissions, and that there is too much reliance on building in the City Centre areas!
  • a series of planning appeals by developers claiming the City does not have a 5 year land supply and with the current Urban Development Plan ending in March 2016. there are no specified allocations for any site anywhere in the City.

The sustainability assessment done for each site on the Leeds Site Allocation Plan can be found here, together with the ANDF response to the consultation which has started bringing these together into a cumulative sustainability assessment.

Aireborough’s Neighbourhood Plan

The work on the Green Masterplan and Site Allocation Response was kept separate , as it was important that the Green Masterplan looked at the issues and options, without the Leeds SAP colouring potential solutions.  DCLG made it perfectly clear to us that as a designated neighbourhood planning area and group, the Aireborough Neighbourhood Development Forum can produce a Neighbourhood Plan in the way it thinks best, as long as it is through the engagement of local people, and is in general conformity with the adopted Leeds Core Strategy (adopted in November 2014).  They also made it clear that an emerging Neighbourhood Plan has weight in planning decisions and with a Planning Inspector, which could be important if the UDP is deemed to have ‘run out’ at the end of March.

Thus, Aireborough now has the start of a neighbourhood plan that

  1. Outlines the vision for the area (chapter 3), that was approved by members and representatives in 2014, and put together with Design Council CABE.   The vision has then tied into the health and wellbeing model being used by Leeds City Council, and outlined in their report ‘Public Health Annual Report 2014-15, Planning a Healthy City- Housing Growth in Leeds’.
  2. Explores the evidence base the ANDF has put together regarding the environment (chapter 4), concluding that “Aireborough’s natural environment is one of its greatest assets, and protection of this environment is very important for the future wellbeing of the region and towns within it.”
  3. Proposes a conceptual Green Masterplan Framework (chapter 5), with newly designated green open space, and a green route.   A key objective of the masterplan is to ‘create a green and natural Aireborough – so that it feels an essential transition from urban Leeds/Bradford to rural Wharfedale‘.   There are a number of other objectives, see page 45 of the report.
  4. Finally the report starts laying down some design principles for any new development or changes to the current fabric.

The Green Masterplan can be viewed here.

The, next stages of the Neighbourhood Plan,  will include putting more ‘meat on the bone’ of the Masterplan.   To that end we will be holding a series of pop-up events over the next couple of months to talk to people about the ideas, and get yet more thoughts and input.  It has been already been used when talking to local Councillors, MP’s and Government Ministers.