Responding to the Wills Gill Planning Application

At the end of the London Court Hearing on 5th February on our Green Belt Judicial Review the judge said she had a trial for two weeks and would give her judgement on our case after that. We are therefore expecting a judgement anytime from now – but nothing has been heard yet.

In the meantime, people have been asking us for advice on how to respond to the plan that has been put in by Avant Homes. The response date has changed and it is now 2nd April.

You will find a lot of key points here in our letter to Avant at their public consultation in October 2019. This has been validated by other responses which are on the now on the Leeds Planning portal here.

Historic and Local Distinctiveness

Neither, Historic England or the LCC Conservation team are happy with the plan. In the LCC sustainability assessment for the Site Allocation Plan (SAP) the Council acknowledged that there were disbenefits or negative factors with developing Wills Gill – these are as follows (the number is the sustainability factor.) These factors have to be mitigated by any developer to an adequate standard before any development can go ahead. The historic mitigation was put into the site requirements for natural and landscape buffers between the site and the conservation area.

SA21 – Historic environment – negative effects on heritage assets eg Guiseley Conservation Area

SA20 – Local distinctiveness – site out of character with the settlement changing distinctiveness

There is also now the results of the Archaeology report where it is recommended that further investigation and mitigation is done before any development starts. Report here. Paragraphs 189 – 202 NPPF (2019) state that the effect of an application on the significance of a non-designated heritage asset [which includes archaeology] should be taken into account in determining the application. In weighing applications that affect directly or indirectly non designated heritage assets, a balanced judgement will be required having regard to the scale of any harm or loss and the significance of the heritage asset.

Access To Services

A further disbenefit for sustainability was

SA08 – Community Participation – poor access to existing services

The LCC design team say in their response that the site is overdeveloped with this current plan, and therefore have not commented on the design of the rest of the site.

Flood Risk and Drainage

With regards flood risk the LCC SAP sustainability analysis managed to give this a positive score, in other words they thought the lack of flood risk was a positive factor in the choice of sites to develop. However, the LCC flood risk team has responded that the Avant’s flood report is not acceptable and there needs to be modelling of the site after development.  Which is just what we have said. There is also a comment from the owner of Dale House who gives his experience of a ‘tidal wave’ hitting his property in the recent floods. A good example of what is happening.

In addition, Yorkshire water are concerned about a large sewer and drainage and want work to be done on that before anything else.

Highways and Access

The only people we have not heard from yet is the LCC Highways team.  However, in the LCC sustainability assessment they identified that mitigation work would need to be done on Queensway,  but that was back in 2015, since then things have got worse. In addition, part of the mitigation was always a link with the site next door on Banksfield, so that cars could go out of either entrance. However, the Banksfield site was not put into the SAP and the Inspector ruled the road link was not to be put into the plan – you will notice there is still a cul-de-sac there. This is what they said:

Potential for direct access to Queensway subject to satisfying junction spacing and visibility requirements. Pedestrian link to Shaw Lane Gardens is possible. Also could be linked in part to site 1255B(Banksfield) depending on overall number of dwellings.  Highways said there was  “Traffic Managemnt issues on Queensway”  and the site could only be developed with highway mitigation which they suggested could be traffic calming on Queensway.  

Since this assessment the traffic calming on Queensway has been installed.  However, that has not stopped the issues of traffic management on Queensway this site will cause.  We will not say a lot about the traffic mitigation for the A65 congestion of improvements to the Horsforth roundabout – which in 2015 was going to solve the problem.

There is a response from the owner of Dale House which points out the dangerous traffic issue, and another response from a resident on Town Street who says he has seen a number of potential accidents on Queensway even as it is currently. The residents on St Oswald’s Walk are also very concerned about junctions.    In essence, there will be three dangerous road junctions within yards of each other around a dip. Large planning applications have been turned down in other places in Leeds for just this type of situation.

Give Examples in Your Responses

We would advise that with regards response that residents and businesses write giving their own experience of the types of issues that are mentioned above – along with experience of the road from Queensway to Town Gate. Send in both written responses and photographs – especially regarding recent floods and how it has affected your property.

We do encourage everyone who is concerned with this plan to write. The more responses the better