Who knows the definition of Town and Country Planning?
“Its goal is to ensure sustainable economic development and a better environment…
…particular concerns are pollution, urban sprawl, and ribbon development.”
Look at the list of villages and towns below. Around 2011 – 2013, did you hear from the Council, asking if you’d like to have some input about planning and shaping where you live, as part of their future plans for building near you – the Site Allocation Plan? No? Perhaps you haven’t even heard of a ‘Site Allocation Plan’. Don’t worry if you haven’t, many hundreds of thousands of others certainly haven’t either. Awareness was rasied, not by the Council, but by local campaigners alerting people to what the Council had ‘planned’ for them.
A few years ago, many of the most special semi-rural fringe communities were deliberately targetted by Leeds City Council or speculative PLC developers and builders, eager to build where they will attain the biggest profits and achieve the most financial benefit. Does that fit with the definition of ‘Town and Country Planning’… or does cherry-picking for profitability sound more like it..?
Yorkshire Greenspace Alliance (YGA) was set up in September last year, in order to unite residents and campaign groups from EVERY ONE OF WEST YORKSHIRE’S 10 LOCAL AUTHORITIES. These groups who were panicked into pulling together to try and have a voice, having been ignored and dictated to about how many houses they would be getting and where. Almost all these towns and villages affected have at least one campaign group. Any such groups and individuals are welcome to unite with YGA, if they’re not already members; there’s no cost, all we ask is that members do a little fundraising.
YGA have set their first task to start with Leeds City Council’s Site Allocations Plan. The task is the ‘legal defence’ of the whole of Leeds’ Green Belt and Community Greenspaces which, we believe and are professionally advised, is not legally compliant – the plan is ‘unsound’.
YGA has engaged a successful, specialist planning barrister who will be defending the greenspace and Green Belt taken from every village and town across Leeds that’s included in the plan. But we a running out of money for this vital expert legal advice. It is essential that our Barrister can be engaged further to speak on behalf of EVERYONE who values the Green Belt and greenspaces of our city. Parks, playing fields, allotments, woodlands are also included in the plan for building on!
Let’s be perfectly clear about a couple of critical facts influencing what’s happened in Leeds, becuase YGA supports appropriate and fair development – of course we need new houses, it is vital. However, we need the RIGHT kind of houses in the RIGHT places. But, it is a fact that Leeds has enough alternative land – ‘brownfield’ sites – to deliver more than the city’s projected housing needs for the next couple of decades, without having to consider using protected Green Belt, allotments, playing fields, woodlands and so on. In addition, there’s a flawed planning law (called the NPPF) that was written by developers which allows them to build on Green Belt if they can prove that there are no alternatives… but there are. The Campaign for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE) has published concrete evidence to prove it. YGA has the full support of the CPRE in our endeavour to engage a barrister to save Leeds Green Belt and community greenspaces – they believe that the plan is unsound too.
61,000 individual site objections were ignored by the Council – unbelievable, but true. If a Public Consultation which results in 61,000 objections is not taken into account it begs the question, what’s the point? It begs the question, “Who do the Council represent, if not their citizens?”. YGA promise that WE WILL do just that – we will represent the 61,000 ignored, and we will not give up, oh no we won’t.
YOUR VOICES MADE NO DIFFERENCE TO THE COUNCIL. We need to ‘get legal’. Can you help us with this battle?
URGENT APPEAL FOR DONATIONS – SEVEN WEEKS LEFT TO RAISE £10,000
The villages and towns listed below had no say in shaping the Council’s plan. Is yours one of them? Whether it is the coins from a money jar you’ve saved for a ‘rainy day’, the £1 you save for your shopping trolley – or the £5 you were going to spend on that Costa and a cake, every penny can help. Equally, we are seeking more substantial donations too – perhaps your group has a fund for local issues that could be accessed. And we are also hoping to find a ‘Golden Donor’ – someone who might be willing to commit to regular and on-going financial support, or a one-off large gift.
We don’t need to remind you that Leeds is defined by it’s semi-rural character and wonderful Green Belt landscapes which prevent the merger of settlements. If you value and wish to keep that character, and prevent the truly huge increase in traffic and air pollution, demand for school places, displacement of wildlife, removal of greenspace where you can walk your dog, stretch your legs run or cycle around – or simply to enjoy a nice view, then we need your financial support so that we can save it on your behalf.
High Royds (Menston)
Fundraising Team Member, YGA