Leeds Site Allocation Plan – One Year On And There Are Problems

12039595_1128842973794503_8337499112919556994_nA year ago the Leeds City Council, Site Allocation Plan consultation was in ‘full cry’ where are we now?


Overall, just under 10,000 people from around Leeds made 46,000 comments on different aspects of the plan.  In Aireborough 7,550 different comments were made mostly on housing development sites.

Full comments and who sent them are published here.  The Aireborough Neighbourhood Forum (ANDF) full submission is not on the link, but you will find it here.     We have heard that not all comments have been published yet.


The Leeds Development Plans Panel met over the summer to discuss the SAP responses.  Overall the Aireborough nether-yeadon-sheethousing target is now 2,068, instead of 2,300: however, the SAP has changed  little in the light of all the comments made.   The main changes are below and maps are here.   There are also some mitigations changes to sites such as Wills Gill, which will have a larger buffer between the development and the medieval tofts and crofts.

A summary of the different issues raised on each of the Aireborough proposed housing development sites and any changes proposed are here.   There is still no revised Aireborough SAP that has been published so you will find the initial consultation proposals here to compare.

HG2-5 Coach Road/Park Road, Guiseley – The boundary had been redrawn to follow the line of existing fields in response to the representation from Historic England and heritage assessment. Comments that the use of the existing hedge as a boundary offered no protection against future development and that previous advice suggested that all new sites coming forward through this process would need to be bounded by residential were noted. The reasoning behind the alteration was explained and the site had been assessed by the Heritage Officer who wished to utilise the existing “on the ground” boundary of the hedge.

HG2-12 Woodlands Drive, Rawdon – the boundary had been redrawn in response to a representation received from Historic England which reduced the site capacity to 25 units. Receipt of an additional representation from Rawdon GAG objecting to part of the site remaining allocated was reported.

Four new sites had been proposed and investigated, of which two brownfield sites – HG2-229 The Old Mill, Yeadon and HG2-230 LCC Depot, Henshaw Lane, Yeadon, were both proposed as new housing allocations. In respect of HG2-230, comments were made regarding this sites’ current use as a Council depot and whether local ward Councillors were aware of the allocation proposals and whether this site was located on a safeguarded waste site. Additionally, the Panel noted comments that existing employment land in Aireborough should be allocated as employment land.

HG2-1 Ings Lane – Members requested the flood risk assessment and impact of the 2015 flooding. It was noted that the flood risk assessment for this site would form part of the updated Flood Risk Background Paper to accompany the Site Allocations Plan presentation to Executive Board.

20150918_134124NEXT STEPS – LCC

Pre-Submission consultation for the whole plan – February – March 2017
Submission to the Secretary of State – Summer 2017
Examination in Public – (date set by the Planning Inspectorate) – 2017
After Examination, the Inspector may suggest further modifications. If so, these will need to be consulted on for a further minimum 6 weeks.
Await the Inspector’s Report
Plan Adoption – Winter 2017/2018

Full details of the Site Allocation Process from Leeds City Council can be found here.

THE BIG BUTS ……………….

There are a number of issues that could affect these plans.

Leeds housing policies may be out of date …..

10368216_834979249863549_7088913609864714372_nIt has been found during Developer appeals in the summer, that Leeds City Council does not have a 5 year land supply for its 70,000 net housing target: LCC has recently been refused leave to appeal against these judgements.  Therefore,  the Council is now very close to having its housing core strategy policies being declared out of date under NPPF 49.   If this happens, we will have to see which policies become out of date as this is currently the subject of legal challenges by Cheshire and Suffolk Councils. 

Leeds is likely to review its housing target ………………

confusing-documentation-from-leeds-council-on-the-copseIn addition, LCC are 2 – 3 years behind plan in reaching their annual housing targets;  plus the target is due to go up in 2017 from 3,660 houses per annum, to 4,700 houses per annum – this will put them even further behind.  As has been said so many times, by so many people and community groups, the LCC target is not deliverable !!   In the light of this,  LCC seem to have reluctantly accepted this, and are preparing to launch a review of the housing target.   This, they say will take 16 months of work as a new Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA) needs to be produced.  In the, meantime work on the SAP will not stop, as the Government has said that plans not finished by 2017, will be finished by ‘outside bodies’ for the Council.

Bradford’s Core Strategy has issues on the border ………………

20150412_122717-1-1Bradford City Council had their Core Strategy declared sound by an Inspector at the end of August 2016: the Inspector said Bradford had the exceptional circumstances to delete Green Belt land in Wharfedale, making way for 2,500 houses –  600 in Menston,  700 in Burley,  1,000 in Ilkley and 200 in Addingham.  This has caused uproar, not only with a range of local community groups in Leeds and Bradford, but also with Leeds City Council themselves.  A recent Council meeting agreed that there were major concerns with Bradford’s plan; LCC are now producing more evidence on infrastructure issues such as transport on the A65 (which they note is already under pressure), education needs, and on what they see as incursions into the Green Belt gap between Leeds and Bradford.

So, Bradford’S Core Strategy has been paused ……………

Meanwhile, in a surprise development on 10th October 2016,  Shipley MP Philip Davies was successful in asking sg204246-cropMinister Gavin Barwell to pause Bradford’s Core Strategy whilst its implications for Wharfedale (and Aireborough) are looked at.  Details here, here and here on our Facebook Page Aireborough Voice.  Aireborough MP Stuart Andrew has also pointed out to Mr Barwell that the Bradford Plan causes issues for the already over ambitious Leeds plan for Aireborough, and asked him to look at the Leeds Plan as well; especially given all the other problems.   Mr Andrew has also asked the Minister to visit Aireborough and Wharfedale and look at the situation on the ground.

Neighbourhood Planning Bill may strengthen the community’s voice ……………….

10653560_1626621750902170_6841190939920087834_nNext,  the Government are yet again looking at Planning Law.   A new planning bill was adopted on 1st october; now there is a Neighbourhood Planning Bill going through Parliament.   This Bill is looking to increase the powers a community has to be heard, and also to make changes to the way housing needs are calculated.  The Aireborough Neighbourhood Development Forum is making a submission to the Bill’s Committee outlining the issues experienced in our area in the planning process.

Yorkshire Greenspace Alliance formed to make legal challenges …………………

11224163_955070014557403_7728657962034593800_nFinally, a new group has formed in West Yorkshire,  to look at the whole issue of Green Belt and green space in the Leeds City Region.  The aim of the Yorkshire Greenspace Alliance is to research the issue and raise the money for relevant legal challenges to plans such as the Leeds SAP where they are out of kilter with planning regulations and community needs.  Communities are now furious at not being listened to, and the  failure in Localism which promised to enable them to ‘shape the place they live’.   The ANDF has joined this group to help with the research and briefings.

So, as of mid October 2016 – that is where we are.

If you want to see where the Neighbourhood Plan is see here,  and here for the AGM slides, and to help with its funding see here.