As WARD chairman and a member of the Aireborough Neighbourhood Forum’s Steering Group, I was fortunate enough to be invited by Stuart Andrew MP (Pudsey) to attend a meeting on Thursday 10 July with Nick Boles, Planning Minister, to discuss the effects of planning legislation on Aireborough’s Neighbourhood Plan. A full account of this meeting is available on www.aireboroughnf.com
Nick Boles was unable to discuss any matters directly concerning the Leeds 70,ooo housing target – currently under consideration by the Inspector in the Leeds Core Strategy examination, whose report is expected some time later this year, possibly at the end of next month. Great concern was expressed however about the effect of the high housing target upon the greenbelt and, also, about proposals to build in areas of Leeds (like Aireborough) where there is inadequate infrastructure to cope with any further increase in population as a result of yet more house building. Jennifer Kirkby, ANF co-ordinator, expressed the view that insufficient attention was being made to placemaking and to building real local communities.
Clive Woods, Chairman, ACS, and I, also questioned the conduct of the Core Strategy Examination in public and, in particular, the inconsistent approaches demonstrated by the Inspectorate in these examinations. There was a consensus that the Inspector conducting the Leeds EIP acted in an unfair and an unjust way.
This is the third time I have had the opportunity to meet with the Planning Minister, Nick Boles, and on each occasion he has clearly been willing to listen and make all the right noises but, as ever, we await with bated breath whether our efforts lobbying for change will have an effect. The cynic in me very much doubts it!