In his Sandys Lecture for Civic Voice on 31st Mach, famous urban designer Sir Terry Farrell, said that place and landscape should be at the start of proactive planning. As he spoke, 21 volunteers in Aireborough were doing just that – recording the details of the local landscape, to input into the emerging Neighbourhood Plan. Their verdict ‘it is amazing what you see when you really look, and know what you are looking for’; there was also agreement that they had discovered places in Aireborough they never knew existed, both beautiful and horrendously degraded.
Planning policy is very clear, that landscape character and its sensitivity to changes are a key consideration when making decisions on where development should go. So, the Aireborough Neighbourhood Development Forum, set out to firstly map and value the Aireborough landscape, and secondly report on its ‘sensitivity to change’. The Leeds report on landscape character in the City was done in 1994, and although a solid piece of research at the time, is not detailed enough to really get to grips with planning in Aireborough 2016, given all the local issues.
The Forum therefore commissioned professional Landscape Architect, Tom Lonsdale, ex head of the subject for Mancheste City Council, to undertake the study with the help of the volunteers. Tom, firstly, taught everyone the relevant techniques for observing and recording – then over Easter the intrepid band spread out over the whole area, from Hawksworth Moor to Yeadon Moor, Nether Yeadon to Surprise View to dig out information, on – topography, hydrology, ecology, land use, access, views, and landscape cells.
- Skylarks were spotted on Hawksworth Moor,
- Unknown water management systems uncovered on Guiseley Moor
- The trees and features of the Coach Road Parkland were mapped
- Views from the Odda (and a number of other hills) were studied and recorded
- The sandstone geology of Yeadon Moor was compared to the visible features
- And unknown areas of green space (to many) looked at in detail.
This work is now complete, and Tom is now in the analysis stage, working towards a final report – probably the first ever for Aireborough with such a fine grain of detail. The work will also feed into other work on Ecology, Flooding, Design and Green Space improvement.
We’d like to thank the following volunteers for all their very hard work (and all friends and family were were taken on an unexpected walk).
Alec Denton (written notes)
Jim and Joy Dun
Judith and Colin Harding
Jennifer and Peter Kirkby
Liz and Philip Kirkpatrick
Frank La Corte