On Tuesday 20th November, a Planning Inspector dismissed the Stonebridge application for the building of 46 houses on the Coach Road (Silverdale) Allotment site.
In essence, the Inspector concluded that there was a shortage of allotments and greenspace in the locality and therefore Coach Road Allotments, as a designated greenspace site in the 2006 Urban District Plan (UDP), were protected from development.*
Development can occur on greenspace if it is surplus to requirements and/or alternatives are offered. Stonebridge had offered £171,898 for improving Nunroyd or Kirk Lane Park. However the Inspector said there was no details of how this would be of benefit to the locality in the wider scheme of things, and so did not meet the criteria. Furthermore, development on the proposed site would need its own greenspace, (under Core Strategy G4) and this had not been provided for in the Stonebridge plans.
The Developers claimed that the population figures needed to calculate greenspace and allotment needs in Aireborough, should not include children under 16. The Inspector did not agree. It was also claimed that as the allotments are in private ownership they should not count towards an assessment of greenspace in Guiseley and Rawdon Ward – the Inspector did not agree, he said the allotment site did come under policy G6 in the LCC Core Strategy.
The Developers also claimed that the need for housing in Aireborough was greater than the harmful effects of losing the allotments as greenspace in the local area. The Inspector did not agree, despite the fact that LCC does not have a 5yr housing land supply which can mean a planning application is accepted when it would not otherwise be.
The site remains on the Leeds Site Allocation Plan (SAP as part of HG2-6 a site for 32 houses, possible Independent Living, with half of the site laid out for allotments. It will be up to the SAP planning inspectors as to how this proposal will be dealt with in the light of this judgement. LCC may also now put through a modification to the SAP on this site. We have written to LCC for confirmation.
The Developers could appeal this decision, which could eventually go to the Secretary of State.
*As the SAP has not yet been adopted then the 2006 UDP policies retained in the 2014 Leeds Core Strategy still apply.