“Allotment Planning Application Alert”

This organisation strongly supports the actions of Silverdale Action Group to protect this historic site

HISTORIC WORLD WAR ONE “WELLBEING” ALLOTMENTS UNDER THREAT

Residents are fighting to preserve the historic “wellbeing legacy” allotment site in the middle of Silverdale Estate in Guiseley. Silverdale Allotments were bought by the Park Gate Allotment Society in 1921 from local philanthropist Jonathan Peate as part of a self-help movement to improve the health of the nation post World War One. Now developer Stonebridge Homes have submitted a planning application for 46 houses on the majority of the allotments, at the behest of some of the allotment owners; well before the future of this and other green sites in Aireborough are decided by a Planning Inspector at public hearings.

Roger Davis said “Our allotment has been in our family for nearly 60 years; over the years, some of the surrounding allotments have been bought by people wanting to build on the land and they’ve left the land derelict, rather than let them be tended. In the past, there was a thriving community with people growing vegetables, keeping pigeons, chickens and even pigs! We are very worried for the future of our smallholding if the development goes ahead, along with the problem it is likely to cause with flooding in nearby gardens – the land hereabouts is very wet, and many neighbours already have pumps to cope with water in their garden”

The Silverdale Allotments, which are approaching the centenary of their optimistic post WW1 inauguration, were cleared of vegetation by Stonebridge in 2015 and surrounded by steel fencing in preparation for a planning application; much to the dismay of local residents. The surrounding area, including, Roger’s smallholding, has since experienced exacerbated flooding, despite a relatively dry winter. Roger says “it is heart breaking to see the land as it is when there’s a huge waiting list for public Allotments which is why Silverdale Action Group in conjuction with  Aireborough  Neighbourhood Development Forum,  submitted a plan to Leeds City Council to have the allotments designated as Green Space” If the owners don’t want to work the allotments they should be rented out to those who do, or sold to either LCC or a Community Trust. This could bring them back to the thriving, growing heart of the Silverdale estate rather than the eyesore it has become.

The recent city wide Site Allocations Plan (SAP) proposed that the site be split 50:50 with half being given over to allotments and half for up to 32 houses. But, this has to be agreed as the right thing to do for the community as a whole by a Planning Inspector; Stonebridge are trying to jump the gun before the Planning Inspector can look at the full details of the situation.

Local householder Phil Dawson added, “We are concerned for the future of Silverdale if this application goes ahead. The estate already has huge access issues, which have been shown up in road works on Park Road this year, when people found it difficult to get to and from their homes. In addition, Yorkshire Water has indicated that existing sewers are close to capacity. I don’t see how this development can go ahead without the sewers overflowing. Leaving the allotments as the “wellbeing” legacy for future generations that they were intended to be, would be the best for the area; we’d like the opportunity to put this to the Planning Inspector”.

Local residents have until the 28th April to respond to the planning application. Details can be found on the Planning Public Access web site.

Planning Application;        17/01262/FU

For; Erection of 46 dwelling, including new access road and associated landscaping.

If you are concerned that this development is in the wrong place, write to LCC planning Department include the application number, your name and address to; Mrs. Carol Cunningham, Planning Services, Leonardo Building, 2, Rossington Street, Leeds.   LS2 8HD. Or email; planning@leeds.gov.uk

Background

The land for the Silverdale Allotments (Coach Road Allotments) was acquired in 1921 by Park Gate Allotment Society Ltd. The 5.5 acres of land was bought from Jonathan Peate of Nunroyd House at a cost of £1,588 on a hire purchase agreement. It made 24 plots of 1020 yards long each. The society was the sixth allotment society established in Aireborough following the First World War when land for the improvements of the wellbeing of soldiers and the population in general was deemed necessary by Lloyd George’s Government. The first sod was dug in early February 1921 by Mr. John Rhodes of Micklefield House, Rawdon, a textile manufacturer, and philanthropic nephew of Jonathan Peate, followed by a tea provided by the Silver Badge Café at White Cross, run by ex-soldiers and an evening dance. The allotments were private, as self-help and independence was felt to be a better way of managing them than through the Local Council, and security of tenure was important for the allotment holders themselves in managing the land. The holders could keep small livestock including rabbits, poultry, bees and goats. The allotment holders paid 4s a week each for seven years to obtain the freehold of the land. The first local allotment group under the scheme was formed in 1917 for the Shaw Lane allotments, the land for which cost £1,700. With some schemes it was possible to build one house on each plot once the land had been bought, with the idea of it being a cultivated smallholding.