Land for 2,300 houses in Aireborough: but no land available for new schools in Guiseley

Parents in Guiseley have expressed major concerns over LCC’s proposals to increase primary school provision in the township.  At two consultation meetings held in the last seven days, one at Guiseley Infant and Nursery School and the other this evening at St Oswald’s C of E Junior School, representatives from Leeds City Council’s Education Department put forward options for extending Guiseley schools rather than building a new school.  The need for extra places is, of course, precipitated by the LCC proposals to build 2,300 houses in Aireborough over the next 15 years.  The basic calculation used by Leeds to determine whether or not a new school is required is as follows:  every 100 houses built generates the need for 25 infant/primary school places and 10 secondary school places.  The proposed 2,300 houses will therefore generate accommodation needs for 575 infant/primary school children and 230 secondary pupils.  This equates at the least to 2 new junior schools and extra secondary school places.

Parents criticised LCC over its lack of concern about transport infrastructure and the need for consultation with Highways about extra traffic that will be generated by the above proposals on already congested roads.  There was anger and dismay when the meeting was informed by LCC Education representatives that there was no land available upon which a new school could be built yet LCC planners, via the site allocation procedures, have managed to find enough land to build 2,300 houses!  But of course developers make vast profits from house building – not so for schools.  Councillor Latty also said that cost would be a major consideration when any negotiations with developers for S106 monies take place in future.  Section 106 contributions are, supposedly, designed to mitigate any ill effects suffered by local communities that are directly due to new development.  In practice, however, contributions from developers intended to alleviate education requirements are usually placed in a central pot from which they may be accessed as and when required.

This writer, addressing the meeting, informed the parents that things will undoubtedly worsen in the future before being prematurely cut off by Chairperson Viv Buckland, Head of Strategic Development Investment Childrens’ Service LCC, he managed to advise the meeting to engage with the Aireborough Neighbourhood Forum which is currently formulating a Neighbourhood Plan for Guiseley and Yeadon.  This is vital if these communities are to have a say in future development as, currently, Guiseley and Yeadon have no Parish Council – and therefore no democratic say in what happens to their areas in the future.  The recent proposals from one political party for a Guiseley Parish Council come too late to have any effect on the design of a Neighbourhood Development Plan.

Parents and Guiseley residents wishing to have a say in the future of their areas were advised to contact  Aireborough Neighbourhood Forum who are in the process of putting together a neighbourhood development plan for Aireborough.  Please contact Mrs Jennifer Kirkby on aireboroughnp@gmail.com  or telephone 01943-878046 for further details.   In addition,  there is an ANF questionnaire being delivered to every household at the moment,  please complete and return to the Freepost address,  or complete this online version which you will find here.

The WARD organization will, meanwhile, continue to lobby for changes to the Leeds Local Development Framework, so that they reflect the needs of residents in areas like Aireborough, and for changes to planning law, to give local communities a greater say in the development of the area that they live in.