Leeds city council is currently consulting on a planning exercise. This is an exercise every council in the country is obliged to undertake by the Tory LibDem Coalition government on pain of significant financial penalties.
The exercise is designed to identify all land that could potentially be used for housing over the next fifteen years. Many sites will thus be involved for which planning applications may never be made.
Much scare-mongering is going on surrounding this exercise. It is important to be clear about its nature.
Adel and Wharfedale Branch Labour Party position.
We are not Nimbys. We recognise the desperate need for the construction of ‘affordable’ housing in every part of the city to meet the needs of the our growing population, changing family life styles and arrangements together with the needs of a growing elderly population.
This area does need more housing – the question is where, what sort of housing and what infrastructure is required to support such housing development and how can it be provided?
That significant house building in the Adel & Wharfedale ward of the city will have to be undertaken over the coming years is, we believe, beyond dispute. However we believe that certain general principles should govern such development.
In general, the Adel & Wharfedale Branch Labour Party’s first planning priority is to support the development of ‘brownfield’ sites in the city subject to such sites having an appropriate infra-structure (roads, transport, schools and so on) either already in place or being built along with the housing. Further, the branch will argue that all housing development plans should include a very significant proportion of ‘affordable’ homes. The branch also believes that bringing multi-occupancy houses back into use as family homes and ensuring that empty properties are also brought back into use are also priorities.
Finally, we note that other important aspects of planning i.e. shopping, employment and open spaces must also feature in planning discussions.
The council has to deal with all applications according to the Tory-LibDem Coalition Government’s current planning guidelines, regulations and laws. It has to be said that these come close to presuming that all house-building applications must be accepted.
The Branch Labour Party will consider each suggested site on its merits, and take a line on individual applications consistent with the above general principles.
What can you do? It is essential that everyone should acquaint themselves with proposed plans and that as many people as possible comment on the sites either by going on line or writing, and by opposing the use of all sites other than brownfield. This is particularly relevant as priority use of brownfield sites is not current government policy, although it is Leeds City Council policy. Also the coalition government, have amended the planning laws to enable land-owners to propose alternative sites, including green belt sites, so it is important to register both your AGREEMENT and DISAGREEMENT on all sites that affect you including the ones coded red (not considered suitable for development) as the owner, residents or planners could propose them as suitable sites. One of the questions in the survey asks if you wish to suggest alternative sites so red sites you consider suitable could be considered. Encourage your friends and family to also comment on the proposals as well, the more people who take the trouble to respond the more likely we are to be heard.
You can find out more and respond to the proposals by visiting the web site at www.leeds.gov.uk/siteallocations
Or you can see all the relevant documents and collect response forms by visiting the Development Enquiry Centre at The Leonardo Building, 2 Rossington St, Leeds, LS2 (Monday to Friday 08:30 – 17:00, except Wednesdays 10:00 – 17:00)
The relevant documents and response forms are also available at all libraries and one-stop centres within Leeds District but please check local opening times.
Responses must be received by Monday July 29th.
And please let us know your views