Local Issues and Needs

“There is clear evidence that when local communities are put in the driving seat, they fully understand their needs for homes, jobs, children, grandchildren, parks and recreation spaces”

A very important part of Neighbourhood Planning is identifying the local issues and spatial needs that the plan has to address.  It is this, more than anything, which gets past the easy accusation of ‘nimbyism’.  A CPRE report on planning reform costs and benefits (Inexpensive Progress) came to the conclusion that “the aim of planning should be to secure long term wellbeing“.  Housing cannot be affordable (to median incomes) if there are high costs of travel to work, school, shops or leisure.  Housing cannot be sustainable, if there is no schools, doctors, recreation spaces or convenient transport facilities.

We would like to encourage local people to register with WARD (top right) and leave your comments on what you think the local issues and spatial needs in lower-Wharfedale, and mid-Airedale are.

Here are some for starters, put together from a workshop of local groups in October 2011.

  • Land with planning permission in Leeds and Bradford should be used first, before any green belt, or green space is used.   Landbanking to take land out of ‘circulation’ should not be permitted.
  • Too much of our employment land has been redesignated for housing, we need more employment land and more jobs in the area.
  • How do we make sure the area capitalises on, rather than suffers the consequences of, Leeds/Bradford airport?  We need an economic plan, and decide on the types of industry to support and encourage in the area – what skills and competitive advantage can we offer?
  • What could or should we do locally, spatially,  to encourage employment and personal skills eg music, sport and entrepreneurship in our young people?  Should we be looking at more cultural spatial facilities eg music workshops, upgrading theatres, libraries with work space for local business?  Ilkley has done well with its literature festival, and Grassington with its annual cultural festival.
  • Our schools are hitting a crisis point, there is much talk of primary and secondary school children being sent out of their local communities to school as we have no local places.
  • More could be done to encourage local independent retailers, especially in places like Otley and Guiseley.  The Portas review should be considered for ideas.
  • The Government’s public health outcomes framework highlights the need for easily accessible green space as a key indicator for a healthy community.  This must be taken into consideration in Aireborough and increased.
  • We need to look carefully at the wildlife corridors in Aireborough, and how they link to other green areas.  We are a gateway to the Yorkshire Dales National Park.
  • We need to look at local health provision,  from oversubscribed doctors and dentists, to ambulance stations and hospitals.
  • Transport – A65 at peak times from Addingham to Leeds, is way over capacity, the trains are in the same state.   That causes issue not only for people locally, but for those who need to connect with national transport systems.  This will hold us back economically.
  • Our farming and industrial heritage is important to the ‘sense of place’, buildings and areas of land with special heritage status are not presently listed and have little protection under present planning legislation.  From Guiseley to Ilkley, industrial heritage architecture is being lost – preserve, reuse, and build into designs.
  • Local building development should take more account of local heritage styles, and materials.  Design statements are to be encouraged.
  • Guiseley, Yeadon and Rawdon, all have their own heritage, just like Menston, Burley and Ilkley,  these individual and historic characteristics should be enhanced and encouraged.
  • Just what is the population growth for Aireborough, and what are the housing needs we need to account for – based on 2011 census figures?

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