As from today there are now exactly 14 days to respond to the Leeds Site Allocations Plan which proposes to build houses on approximately 42% of Green Belt land across the Leeds region. The deadline for submission of objections is 5:00pm on Monday 16 November 2015. One way of protesting is by downloading a form from www.leeds.gov.uk/yourcity but if you do this you will only be able to comment on one individual site which is probably a Leeds City Council ploy to make regional protests more difficult.
The most effective way to protest is by letter/email when you will be able to comment on as many individual sites as you like and, also, make general comments regarding soundness/unsoundness of the Plan. Letters detailing your full name, title (Mr/Mrs/Dr etc), address, postcode, phone/mobile and email address if you have one should be sent to:LDF Publication Draft Consultation Forward Planning & Implementation The Leonardo Building 2 Rossington Street Leeds, LS2 8HD
Or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
It is most important that you do not copy the following suggestions word for word. You must compose your letter of objection in your own words.
That is why WARD is not offering a template for you to follow. If this were the case then Leeds Planning Officers would immediately spot this and discount your objection.
There are four tests of soundness which need to be met in order for the Site Allocations Plan to be passed as sound and fit to be submitted for public examination before a planning inspector sometime early in 2016. These are as follows:
- Has the Plan been based on objectively assessed needs of the area?
- Does the evidence gathered from reports and statistics justify the Plan? Have local people been involved?
- Is the Plan effective and can it be delivered in the timescale given all the collaboration, infrastructure and amenities needed?
- Is the Plan consistent in the NPPF and National Planning Policy?
WARD strongly believes that everyone should state quite clearly a resounding NO to each of these four questions which makes the Plan UNSOUND. Some of the reasons for answering no are as follows:
- The Site Allocations Plan does not comply with the NPPF, Section 9 Protecting Green Belt, which states that Green Belt should only be used in exceptional circumstances and meeting housing target numbers cannot be considered a special case.
- The Site Allocations Plan is in direct contravention of para 80 in the NPPF which states quite clearly Green Belt serves five purposes:
- To check the unrestricted sprawl of large built-up areas;
- To prevent neighbouring towns merging into one another;
- To assist in safeguarding the countryside from encroachment;
- To preserve the setting and special character of historic towns;
- To assist in urban regeneration, by encouraging the recycling of derelict and other urban land.
All these five points are being contravenced by Leeds City Council in its Site Allocations Proposals. This makes the SAP inconsistent with National Planning Policy as outlined in the NPPF.
- Leeds City Council has not conducted a complete and thorough Green Belt review as advised by Inspector Thickett at the LDF Core Strategy Public Examination in October 2013 – together with an appropriate public consultation on the matter.
- The Site Allocations Plan consultation cannot be considered legally compliant as 35% of the population of Leeds who are not online, has not been consulted and will not have any knowledge of the Plan’s proposals.
- There are at least 11 sites across the City which involve the loss of open space adjacent to conservation areas and at least 14 sites which involve development in the vicinity of listed buildings and could adversely affect conservation areas and said listed buildings.
In general terms and if you know of a particular site in your area which has been included in the proposals look at the above guidelines and tell Leeds in no uncertain terms why the site/sites do not conform with the National Planning Policy and cannot therefore be considered to be legally compliant. Do not be afraid to comment on lack of infrastructure and adequate transport links, together with social and healthcare provisions. If you can, try to provide the site number/numbers where possible. These are available in local libraries and also on line at www.leeds.gov.uk/yourcity where you will find links to interactive site maps and consultation material. It is vitally important that you respond individually to this consultation. All the members of your household are entitled to object as individuals – including children. Get your children to write a letter with their drawings of the sites in Green Belt where housing development will lead to loss of amenity and destruction of the open environment and consequent reduction in the quality of life for future generations.
PLEASE ACT NOW, PUT PEN TO PAPER SAYING CLEARLY WHY YOU OBJECT TO THE LEEDS SITE ALLOCATIONS PLAN. WE NEED TO INUNDATE THE LEEDS CITY COUNCIL WITH OBJECTIONS TO THIS SCHEME BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE THIS IS YOUR LAST CHANCE !
ONCE THE GREEN BELT IS GONE – IT IS GONE FOREVER!!
One final thought, had Leeds revised its 70,000 aspirational housing target in line with the 2011 ONS Census figures there would have been no reason whatsoever to use any Green Belt in the Leeds City Region. The revised figure would not have needed Green Belt in order to meet the five year land supply as that figure would be at least 15,000 less than the current target.David Ingham Chairman WARD