More evidence of Leeds housing number blunder

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has published new population statistics with a 2014 base. Previous most up to date data was based on 2012 figures and already showed Leeds’ and Bradford’s housing targets to be way too ambitious – and frankly unnecessary. At this point a Leeds target of c. 50,000 (down from 66,000) would have matched the ONS population data and mean that not one square metre of greenbelt land would need to be included in the Leeds Site Allocation Plans.

Annual household projections for Leeds and Bradford which are out today with a 2014 base show lower projections for household growth per annum for both Leeds and Bradford: –

Leeds  – a fall from 2,796 households  per annum to 2, 458 households per annum.

Bradford a fall from 1,793 households per annum to 1,509 households per annum.

These figures take into account a rise in UK household formation (although a fall in population increases),  due to a lower household size, which is down from an average of 2.32 to 2.21 people per household for Leeds.

This information was provided by Jennifer Kirkby of ANDF, and she goes on to state that her rough calculations suggest that this would further reduce Leeds’ housing target requirement by some 5,000 houses. This would suggest that a target of 45,000 would satisfy future housing need in Leeds, during the current plan period of 2012 to 2028.

Thank you for this information, Jennifer.

Meeting to set up legal representation fund for LCC Site Allocations hearing

WARD have announced a meeting of invited groups and key people to discuss the setting up of a legal representation fund enabling community groups to legally challenge excessive green belt use within the Site Allocations plan for Leeds.

Date: Friday, 29th July 2016

Venue: Emmott Arms Rawdon, upstairs meeting room

Time: 1900 hours. The meeting will last no longer than 2 hours.

The meeting will determine how funds should be raised and managed and set project plans as to how the money should be spent. At this stage it is anticipated that legal advice will need to be taken from a planning barrister, followed by his or her attendance at the hearing to represent the community. Funds required are expected to be at least £10,000.

WARD has taken this step due to the continuing and repeated refusal of Leeds City Council to pay any attention to the results of recent consultations, and their direct refusal to alter the direction of the Site Allocation proposals in the light of these community views.

WARD are working closely with SAVELEEDSGREENBELT.COM on this project with the intention of holding a further public meeting in Horsforth in respect of LCC’s intention to increase the size of green belt grab associated with proposals for site HG2-41 Strawberry Fields, located within Horsforth.

Clear “NO” from Leeds City Council on housing number revision

Meeting: W.A.R.D. and Leeds City Council: – Monday 23rd May 2016

The following persons are all involved in the development of Neighbourhood Plans and attended this meeting: –

Dr David Ingham – Rawdon Parish Councillor and member of Rawdon Neighbourhood Plan Working Group
Mrs. Jennifer Kirkby – Programme Manager, Airborough Neighbourhood Development Forum, Director, Friends of Parkinson’s Park CIC
Martin Hughes – Horsforth Town Councillor and leader Horsforth Neighbourhood Plan Working Group
George Hall – Community Planning Consultant; Lead representative of “Communities Group”; Former member of SHLAA Partnership & LCC Scrutiny Board Housing & Regeneration; Co-Author of LCC Town & Parish Council Planning Charter

Stuart Andrew MP and Greg Mulholland MP

For Leeds City Council (LCC): –

Cllr Richard Lewis – Executive Member for Regeneration, Transport and Planning
Tom Riordan – Chief Executive, LCC
Tim Hill – Head pf Planning, LCC

This meeting was set up to allow us to ask a few questions: –

Why are LCC persisting with the 66,000 housing target in the light of: –

(a) DCLG Local Plans Expert group report March 2016 indicating Leeds (and Bradford) have a housing target of 500  plus per year above the annual average increase in household projections.
(b) 5 year land supply challenges by developers (costing rate payers considerable amounts at appeals)
(c) The 2017 housing number review promised by LCC (in April 2015) and targets already missed? The current plan is 25% (4 years) into the plan period 2012 – 2028.

Additionally we have concerns over:

(d) Flooding impacts and lack of comprehensive green belt review as recommended by Planning Inspectorate,  Inspector Thickett
(e) Claims by developers that brownfield is unviable
(f) Failure to plan for infrastructure – road congestion, transport facilities, school expansion, doctors, dentists, etc.
(g) A delayed SAP leading to developer competition for green field sites. Why has LCC included so much greenbelt (particularly in Guiseley, Rawdon and Horsforth) in Phase 1 of the SAP?
(h) What “exceptional circumstances” are being used by LCC to justify using greenbelt to meet high housing targets? What evidence is there to support this in contravention of the NPPF?
(i) Why are LCC not working with ANDF  over the development of their Neighbourhood Plan in the way the local group wants to develop their plan?

The answers were stunning, or not given.

There was a direct refusal to review the overall housing number, from which hangs so many (if not all) of the current planning problems for Leeds. Tim Hill insisted that the number of 66,000 must be maintained to push through to the final publication of Site Allocations. This was despite his comment about the current planning situation for Leeds feeling like “going down the plughole”. He shared “frustrations”, but was unprepared to do anything about them!

WARD fears that the SAP community consultation results will be ignored. When “going down the plughole” the way to stop that is to insert the plug; interrupt the flow and review the situation and change the course of the flow. We just do not understand why Leeds cannot do this! It looks as though a power higher up the chain is in control – The Leeds City Region is suggested as the driving force, as a result of the Norther Powerhouse approach.

Key questions like “exceptional circumstance” re green belt use were side stepped and remain unanswered.

A clear statement of refusal for LCC to help ANDF with their plan was based very much on the concept that LCC do not think ANDF are developing their plan in the way LCC likes! This is so contrary to NPPF it is mind-boggling.

So a most unsatisfactory meeting, but with Leeds showing their true colours now on these matters. Leeds is driving the planning dreadnought at the brick wall, and is not going to stop it, while our community has to sit in the back and wait for the inevitable crash and the damage that will be too late to avoid.

Failing to plan.

Planning to fail.


Martin Hughes – Treasurer, WARD





As you will know the Council is in the process of producing a new Local Plan for the District which will eventually replace the current statutory development plan (the Replacement Unitary Development Plan). You may also be aware that the Local Plan comprises several separate documents which are at different stages of preparation.

I am now writing to inform you that work has commenced on another Local Plan document, the Allocations Development Plan Document (DPD), and the Council are beginning a period of ‘Issues and Options’ consultation on Tuesday the 10th May.

The Allocations DPD is a key planning document as it will identify and allocate sites which will meet the district’s needs for new homes, jobs and infrastructure. It will also designate key areas of amenity and environmental value such as green spaces and wildlife areas so that they are protected and enhanced. The Allocations DPD will cover the majority of the district but please note it does not cover or include policies or allocations for the Bradford City Centre or Shipley & Canal Road Corridor areas which are the subject of separate Plans.

When adopted, the Allocations DPD, will contribute towards decisions on individual planning applications.

The Allocations DPD is required to implement the policies of the Council’s Core Strategy and accord with the Government’s National Planning Policy Framework. The Council are therefore not consulting or inviting comments on matters which are the subject of the Core Strategy such as how many homes are needed and should be built in each settlement.

Aim of this consultation

The Council welcomes the submission of comments on any matters but at this early stage are particularly keen to receive comments on:

  • The intended scope of the plan – what it will cover;
  • The sites which should be allocated to meet development needs and targets;
  • The greenspaces and environmental areas which should be protected; and
  • Any information, evidence, studies or data which the Council should consider.

A range of supporting material has been published on the Council’s website to inform this process. In particular documents and maps have been produced to show the current list of potential development sites on an area by area basis. There is an interactive map of the district on the website which shows the sites in more detail.

The Council welcome comments on the suitability, or otherwise, of these sites for development and what type of development would be appropriate. However it has also issued a ‘Call For Sites’ which means it would welcome the submission of additional site options. Such sites should be deliverable and be a minimum of 0.2ha in size.

The main documents which you will find online include:

  • A ‘Background and Scope’ paper which indicates the things the Plan will cover;
  • Background papers which include lists and maps both of possible sites and also currently designated green spaces;
  • A ‘Call For Sites Suggestion Form’ – the Council encourage those suggesting additional sites to use this as it ensures that the Council have the right information to begin assessing them;
  • A ‘Call For Evidence’ paper;

The material for the Allocations DPD can be viewed from Tuesday 10th May at:

Deposit Locations

The key consultation documents are available for inspection at the following deposit locations:

  • Principal Planning Office: at Jacob’s Well, Bradford. Please note the service is due to re-locate to Britannia House in June so materials will be transferred there;
  • Main libraries: Bradford Local Studies Library, Bradford City Library, Shipley, Bingley, Keighley and Ilkley.
  • Town Halls & One Stop Shops: at Shipley1, Keighley and Ilkley

People are free to download and print their own copies of the consultation documents and supporting documents as they require.

How You Can Comment

There are several ways in which comments can be submitted. This includes a standard form which can be downloaded or via the Interactive map which has a facility to make comments. Comments can be submitted by post or by e-mail. The Council strongly encourages the use of electronic and online methods of submission as it makes the processing and response to them quicker and more efficient.

Representations should be submitted to: or in writing to:

Local Plans Group, 2nd Floor South, Jacobs Well, Manchester Road, Bradford, BD1 5RW.

Comments and responses must be received by 5pm on Tuesday 19th July 2016

The Council appreciates that the Local Planning process is complex so please feel free to contact the Council’s staff at the contact details below if you require any information or wish to receive advice or assistance on how to submit your comments or use the online interactive map.

Please note – submitted comments including names and postal addresses cannot be kept confidential as the Council are required by law to make these available. However your telephone number, e-mail address and signature will not be published. Further details of the data protection exemptions which the Council has to follow under planning legislation is included on the comment forms.

Any comments submitted may be accompanied by a request to be notified of forthcoming stages including:

  • when the Allocations DPD is submitted for independent examination by the Planning Inspectorate and
  • of the publication of the recommendations of the person appointed to carry out the examination; and
  • on the adoption of the DPD.

Group Responses

Where there are groups who share a common view on how they wish to see the Plan changed, it would be very helpful for that group to submit a single representation which represents the view of the group, rather than separate individual representations which repeat the same points.  In such cases the group should indicate how many people it is representing and how the representation has been authorised.

What Happens Next?

Following the period for representations the Council will record and consider each of the comments, assess the issues raised, gather evidence and assess all site options. It will then prepare a preliminary draft Plan for further consultation.

Should you have any further queries about the Plan or the forthcoming process please contact my colleague Simon Latimer at

or by telephone (01274) 434606.

Should you require assistance in accessing the online material or using the online maps and questionnaire please feel free to contact my colleague Leah Midgley at (01274) 434461 or by e-mail to

Yours faithfully,

Andrew Marshall

Planning & Transport Strategy Manager

Government rejects right of planning appeal by Parish and Town Councils

So…………. the Government have rejected the call for Town and Parish Councils to be allowed to appeal planning applications. So much for Localism. Planning remains slanted towards the benefit of the developer. Something that is forced on the community whether they like it or not!

The Government has responded to the petition you signed – “Give parish councils the right to appeal planning decisions.”.

Government responded:

The Government places great importance on community involvement in the planning system. Parish councils have statutory rights to contribute their views in the planning process.

The planning system is centred on community involvement. Communities, including parish councils and individual members of the public, have statutory rights to become involved in the preparation of the Local Plan for their area, through which they can influence development in their area. The local community can also come together to produce a neighbourhood plan, which sets out how the community want to see their own neighbourhood develop. Neighbourhood plans are often initiated by parish councils. Local and neighbourhood plans form the basis for decisions on planning applications.

In addition to input on local plans and neighbourhood plans, which set out the local development strategy, communities are also able to make representations on individual planning applications. Interested parties can raise all the issues that concern them during the planning process, in the knowledge that the decision maker will take their views into account, along with other material considerations, in reaching a decision.

The right of appeal following the refusal of an application is an important part of a planning system which controls the ability of an individual to carry out their development proposals. The existing right of appeal recognises that, in practice, the planning system acts as a control on how an individual may use their land. As a result, the Government believes it is right that an applicant has the option of an impartial appeal against the refusal of planning permission. This existing right of appeal compensates for the removal of the individual’s right to develop.

However, the Government does not believe that a right of appeal against the grant of planning permission for communities, including parish councils, is necessary. The Government considers that communities already have opportunity to guide and inform local planning issues via Local Plans and Neighbourhood Plans, and it would be wrong for them to be able to delay a development at the last minute, through a community right of appeal, when any issues they would raise at that point could have been raised and should have been considered during the earlier planning application process. The Government does not think that the planning system would benefit from the grant of a community right of appeal which would lead to added delay, uncertainty and cost for all those involved.

Department for Communities and Local Government

Click this link to view the response online:

The Petitions Committee will take a look at this petition and its response. They can press the government for action and gather evidence. If this petition reaches 100,000 signatures, the Committee will consider it for a debate.

The Committee is made up of 11 MPs, from political parties in government and in opposition. It is entirely independent of the Government. Find out more about the Committee:

The Petitions team
UK Government and Parliament

FLOODING – a novel solution

Author Dr Steve Ellams

A public meeting is to be held at Kirklands, Menston at 7.30pm


Tuesday 26th April 2016 

Professor David Rhodes CBE, FRS, FR Eng will illustrate, explain and answer questions on his novel solution to Flooding reduction, for which he has submitted a patent application!

All are welcome.

This will be an opportunity for all concerned with FLOODING to hear at first hand some of the solutions.

A new cost-effective technique is proposed for the management of water flow from the upper rainfall catchment areas which has a minimal effect upon water capture into reservoirs whilst increasing the daily baseline flow of water into the rivers. By achieving this objective, when prolonged rainfall events occur, the peak flows both overland and in the rivers will be reduced.

Such a solution will be described with supporting evidence to illustrate why it will achieve the desired objectives.

The presentation will be of interest to environmental technical officers, politicians and the public alike.

Please circulate this invitation widely.

An email confirming your attendance would help in the organisation and be appreciated.

This meeting is being held under the auspices of Menston Parish Council.

Prevention is better than cure

Letter printed in the local press Author Dr. Steve Ellams


I refer to the front pages of both the Ilkley Gazette and the Wharfedale Observer dated March 31 2016.

An up to date publication regarding flooding and drainage issues from Bradford MDC has just been published (Local Flood Risk Management Strategy).

I would like to point out from Addingham to Menston various groups from Parish Councils to Action Groups have been pointing out serious concerns about the lack of joined up thinking when it comes to flood risk.

There are examples in the District of serious shortfalls in planning controls leading to developments being blighted. In addition where there are old Victorian combined sewers, in some circumstances these cannot cope now and most certainly will not be able to cope with proposed large scale developments.

I quote from this latest document:

 “National Flood Management has previously been managed in a disjointed way.  Flooding from rivers (fluvial) has passed between successive Government agencies, whilst land drainage and sewer flooding has been managed in a variety of combinations on Local Authorities and public and private water companies.  The blurring of boundaries for responsibilities and uncoordinated actions of different risk management authorities has resulted in a failure to provide consistent and coordinated actions in response to local flooding events.”

I have, with many others, been in dialogue with all of the agencies who are likely to have some input regarding flooding and drainage. The buck passing is quite extraordinary!  Is it not time for someone to get a grip, particularly on the health risks regarding sewer flooding which is now becoming a regular event.

It is a well-known fact the pollution in our streams occurs on a regular basis and that the odd failure at a treatment plant is no longer the reason. According to an OFWAT report on New Housing Developments they voiced concerns about additional new housing without making provision for suitable drains and making sure existing sewerage systems could deal with the extra load.  They also pointed out problems have become worse since new developments have been built and overloaded the sewerage system and concluded that sewerage flooding had been a problem for the past 10 years and was probably due to extra building of houses in an area.

Just like any other problem in life, prevention is better than cure. This means that considerable re-plumbing of sewer systems to allow for large scale developments must be a priority and thereby reduce the risk.  The infrastructure must be able to withstand large scale developments which is certainly, in my opinion, not the case in the Bradford district.

Ilkley housing increase could be overturned at new hearings

Amanda Greaves Ilkley Gazette.

MASIVE increases in house building figures for Ilkley and its neighbouring communities are to come under the scrutiny of a Government planning inspector in what is believed to be an unprecedented move.

Wharfedale-based campaigners are hopeful hundreds of additional new homes written into the yet-to-be-approved Local Development Plan Core Strategy could be dropped as the result of a fresh set of hearings in May.


The surprise announcement comes a year on from hearings about Bradford Council’s development strategy for the district.

Planning inspector Stephen Pratt, who examined the initial Core Strategy document last May, has called further hearings on May 17 to 20 to examine new issues not discussed in detail the first time around.


Dr Steve Ellams, of campaign group Wharfedale and Airedale Review Development (WARD), said: “I couldn’t believe it when it came out.

“To me, it’s unheard of to have an inspector call it back.”

A debate last year between Bradford Council planners and legal representatives of a consortium of developers saw the local authority agree to revise its 15-year housing strategy figures for Ilkley, Burley-in-Wharfedale and Menston.

Subsequent modifications saw Ilkley’s housing allocation increase from 800 to 1,000, Burley’s from 200 to 700 and Menston from 400 to 600. Burley and Menston were also re-designated as Local Growth Centres – something organisations, including WARD, have since argued are not feasible.

WARD has continued to send evidence to the inspector opposing the new figures, citing strain on the local infrastructure, including Victorian sewers currently struggling to cope with surface water during heavy rain, as demonstrated during the Boxing Day floods.

“You can’t force a pint into a half-pint pot,” added Dr Ellams.

He believes the inspector now has concerns about the housing increases, resulting in the unusual move of holding further hearings.

Dr Ellams added: “We think it probably is to do with what we’ve put forward.

“We’re very hopeful he’s going to see through some of the developers’ statements. This isn’t a development centre – people aren’t going to move here from the centre of Bradford to go back into Bradford for work.”

However, he also warned developers may take the opportunity to defend the current figures or even press for greater scope to build yet more homes.

Meanwhile, Ilkley ward councillor, Martin Smith (Con, Ilkley), attacked Bradford Council regarding its handling of the “flawed” Core Strategy.

He said: “The figure of 42,000 homes was based on 4,200 new jobs, now downgraded to 3,600 in the latest deposit to the inspector.

“If I was responsible for the Core Strategy, I would be looking at any options to reduce these 42,000 new homes and to places that need the homes, recognising the basis upon which it was calculated was flawed.”

He went on to call for affordable homes on brownfield sites instead of new development in the greenbelt.

“Affordable homes are needed where work is, and the developers should not reduce the affordable numbers on the back of over-priced greenbelt land,” Cllr Smith added.

“Use the brownfield Government grants before they are taken up by other authorities. Already councils are buying up older houses, upgrading them and selling them on at a profit, so why is Bradford doing nothing?”

DCLG Report from Local Plans Expert Group confirms WARD’s continuing push for total housing number reduction in Leeds

This report concludes that Leeds City Council has made over- provision of more than 500 dwellings per annum when comparing actual annual housing provision in the Leeds Core Strategy against increase in household projections.
This is a long winded way of saying that the Leeds plan target of 66,000 dwellings is overstated by as much as 9,000 houses over the life of the plan (16 years). WARD (Wharfedale and Airedale Review Development) have been making this point for the last 5 years.
The Local Plans Expert Group (LPEG) (who prepared the report) was established by the Communities Secretary, Greg Clark and the Minister of Housing and Planning, Brandon Lewis MP, in September 2015, with a remit to consider how local plan making can be made more efficient and effective.
Based on the remit of the committee, I suggest that their conclusion for Leeds is that a reduction on overall housing number will contribute to making local plan making more efficient and effective.
See page 11 map and study the green bit where Leeds is.…/…/Local-plans-report-to-governement.pdf