Stonebridge Homes are working with a group of the allotment holders who want to sell their allotments for housing; Stonebridge has a contract to purchase the land if it gets planning permission.  They have now employed Planning Consultants Barton Willmore to run a public consultation for them on 17th May, 3-7pm, in Guiseley Methodist Church, to gauge local opinion on their plans for a residential development, in order to apply to Leeds City Council for that permission.  Local residents around the Silverdale Estate should have received an envelope delivered by the Royal Mail, about the consultation.


13165825_10153571362853862_1652883673322642740_nThe Silverdale Allotments are designated for allotment use under the relevant Leeds Urban District Plan, this designation will only change if it is agreed by a Planning Inspector at a hearing in 2017 .  In 2007 Leeds City Council confirmed that Silverdale Allotments are protected under policy N1A which says development of allotment land will not be permitted for purposes other than outdoor recreation (this is a saved policy in the new LDF)   Letter here.  In the 2013 Issues and Options consultation on potential housing sites, the Silverdale Allotments were not allocated to housing, this only happened at a later date, via an unknown process.  The 2015 LCC site allocations consultation, will have included a lot of comment on the suitability of this site – this will need to be repeated to this public consultation by those who made it to Leeds.  The Leeds LDF is here with the relevant policies.

Under the new Local Development Framework – adopted in 2014, the LCC policy on allotment is to ensure that there is an adequate provision in line with the growth in population. (5.5.10).   Adequate provision is 0.24hectares of allotments per 1000 people, within a distance of 960m of people’s houses.   Aireborough is short of allotments according to 2010 Aireborough audit  “ compared against the standard of 0.24 hectares per 1000 population, Guiseley and Rawdon Ward falls short of the recommended standard and so is deficient in terms of the quantity of allotments.”  So removing the Silverdale allotments means there is even less adequate provision as the population has increased since 2010 – and this is before the whole issue of waiting lists and demand.   You can find the audit here.

The site as proposed by the Leeds Housing Site Allocation is for 32 at the relevant density on the 1.98 hectare, on half the site – the rest being either in private hands of those who do not want to sell, or public allotments.   We understand the Stonebridge plan is for over 40 houses, on the majority of the site, with access mainly from Silverdale Mount. You will find lots of details from the 2015 consultation here.

The allotments were first planned in 1921 by the Park Gate Allotment Society – they were subsequently sold into private hands.  Most allotment holders now want to sell. A few do not. This site has been an area of ‘frustration’ for a number of years.  However, there is a clause in the land conveyance that each plot can only build one house on it, provided that there is adequate ‘infrastructure’ eg drainage.

ANDF sustainability reports on the site have been prepared and sent to Leeds as part of the Site Allocation process in November 2015.  You will find lots of details about the site here .   Three of the key issues for sustainability are

1, traffic flows on to the Silverdale estate,

2, the inadequacy of green space on the Silverdale estate,

3, flooding issues on the allotments that have only come to light subsequent to the 2015 flooding.  There are currently investigations underway to look at flooding in the Aire and Wharfe catchment areas, which includes Aireborough.   It has also been established that the flood simulation model Tuflow used by the Department of the Environment to advise developers  on drainage mitigation, does not include ground water increases, and thus can underestimate flooding 10 fold – as has happened in Menston.  This is a grave concern, considering a recent flooding survey around the allotments has found that gardens to the west and north have got some serious issues, which, unless the situation is properly understood, could be made very much worse – as has been outline in the Menston case here.

House builders have unlimited rights of appeal; a local community, none, unless there is a Neighbourhood Plan.  However community collaboration is supposed to carry weight in planning applications.  The ANDF is currently drawing up a Neighbourhood Plan, looking at housing need, landscape value, ecology, design and other key factors –  we have not been approached by Stonebridge for any discussions.  They have had discussions with local Councillors – letter from Graham Latty regarding this here .  You may also be aware there there is a Silvedale Action Group who have been working on keeping residents informed and working on sustainability evidence – they have a Facebook page here.

We would like to encourage as many people as possible who will be interested in this development to attend the consultation  and let Barton Willmore know of your thoughts and ideas for the plans.   They will ask you to fill in a questionnaire, and you may also like to give them a copy of any response you made to the 2015 Leeds Site Allocation Consultation.   All development has to be sustainable, both on individual sites, and more importantly, across the whole of the area where there are a number of other development sites proposed by Leeds City Council.