YEP Letters: February 19

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AFTER ALL that consultation the Bristol Inspector has agreed the 70,000 housing figure proposed by Leeds for its Core Planning Strategy.

But the sting in the tail is what the Inspector has said as to how those dwellings are to be delivered.

Leeds had proposed a starting point of 3,660 per year advancing to 4,700 per year later. All this, from a most recent base of less than 2,000, which might just crawl to 2,500 during 2014. It was a tall order then, but even worse now.

The Inspector prefers that the target of 70,000 dwellings is met in a linear way – that is 4,600 dwellings per year, as if Leeds can magically conjure builders to start building tomorrow!

“If anyone in this room can tell me how Leeds can move its house building level from where it is now to 4,600 per year, please see me afterwards” said Phil Crabtree, Leeds’ Director of Planning, seeking the sympathy of an audience at the Leeds Civic Trust housing conference held at Doubletree Hilton, Leeds on February 10.

He gets no sympathy from me – he was instrumental in creating the problem.

A high total housing requirement number is directly reflected in the need for a high five-year land supply. The Government requires that Local Planning Authorities should ensure that there is a regular supply of land that is suitable, available and deliverable for housing development. The amount of land available should be sufficient to fulfil the housing requirement for the next five years. Local authorities who fail the targets are pressured by the addition of a further 20% added to the land supply target. “Deliverable” is defined as dwellings occupied by people paying or exempt from Council Tax.

Leeds is failing that target and I predict a planning rout, as developers get the green light to start to pick off Leeds’s green sites all around the city, and especially in those areas of greatest desirability, such as Horsforth. This is the result of flawed planning policy, at the heart of which is the National Planning Policy Framework.

How does this process leave such a threat to our green-field land?

I think that developers will apply for planning applications, which if rejected by Planning Panels will lead quickly to planning appeals. There might even be some thought running through Planning Panels’ minds to accept the applications, because they know of the consequences of losing any appeal – costs claimed by the developer for all those sharp-suited QCs lined up to attack the original decision. They’ll also be mindful of the need to try and push up their house dwelling build numbers.

Expect more of this, and expect to say bye, bye to a lot of the green, green grass of Leeds.

Martin Hughes, chairman, Horsforth Civic Society

Vice problem in Holbeck

SO THE senior councillors in Leeds have debated the sale of the Tower Works Site in Holbeck Urban Village.

I wonder when this sale goes ahead will the same councillors try to resolve the problem of prostitutes patrolling the streets of Holbeck?

The residents of Holbeck have had to tolerate this problem for many years, and it has been reported in the YEP recently a drop-in centre for prostitutes could be re-located at the bottom of Domestic Street, Holbeck.

The current elected councillors of Holbeck seem to be unable to remove this problem from the area, and I feel the Holbeck residents deserve so much better.

H Mills, Beeston

Airport hype of the past

WITH reference to B Duffy’s recent letter singing the praises of developing RAF Church Fenton’s defunct site as an alternative to Leeds/Bradford Airport at Yeadon – we had all this hype nine years ago with plans to redevelop RAF Finningley as a more suitable alternative.

This conversion was done in a hail of publicity and I myself flew to Florida from there in 2007. Since then instead of developing and building up passengers and destinations I suggest Mr Duffy, and anyone else who thinks this was a good idea, take a look on teletext at the arrivals for this airport – sometimes less than a 10 flights a day.

There is nothing wrong with Yeadon apart from the ridiculous drop-off and pick-up charges and lack of a railway extension from Horsforth to the terminal.

John Hartley, West Park Crescent, Roundhay

Utter drivel of today’s soaps

I note Mr McCoy’s further comments about the ‘Hayley’ story in Corrie : having just seen a BT preview online about the ‘Tina’ murder, does he really need any more proof about the utter paucity of ideas in the three main soaps these days? Utter drivel. Thank God for Two And A Half Men (again). Oh yes, and Sounds Of The Sixties/Seventies on the Yesterday channel (again). The past is a different country – they did things better then.

Dr Richard Kimble, 
by email

Transport’s ‘perfect storm’

SEVERAL OF of your stories of February 6 coalesce with the thorny issue of public transport in Leeds.

The proposed ‘super cycleway’ between Leeds and Bradford is to be welcomed; housing developments that will likely grow the city’s population from 755,000 now to 860,000 by 2028 (an increase of more than 100,000, or 14%) will bring further pressures on transport systems and the road network; and yet the trolleybus scheme is spoken of in terms associated more with the management debacle at Elland Road.

What with HS2 in the offing and the fact that Leeds is already one of the largest cities in Europe without a mass-transit system, we have the conditions for a perfect storm.

On the 50th anniversary of the Buchanan Report, which stated: “public transport oils the cogs of society”, his words should, at long last, be heeded. Leeds’s future as a great city depends on it.

Graeme Tiffany, Elder Road, Bramley

Link airport to rail network

WITH REGARD to Councillor Wakefield and his request for comments on his suggestion of a new airport, the needs of today are far more pressing than a very distant objective. There are plenty of ideas that have been put forward but because their proposers have no “clout” they fall by the wayside.

The present airport needs a link to the rail network which itself needs to be upgraded with a few alterations, eg linking the two Bradford stations, opening the Spen Valley line again, amongst others.

All ideas need to be appraised as to their viability and feasibility and their potential in supplying the demand and it is the panel that does this that needs the expertise, knowledge, experience and credibility to justify their decision.

It is wrong that the politicians who put forward ideas also have the power to ratify those ideas so the panels should be i ndependent of any political persuasion.

D Angood, by email

Support Carers Week Quest

We can all play a part in helping improve the lives of those who take on a caring role. That is why I am supporting the Carers Week Quest in 2014.

The Carers Week Quest is an important new initiative aiming to reach out to the thousands of carers in the UK missing out on support and services that can help them with their caring role. Individuals and organisations, community groups, GPs, health and social care professionals, employers, can all make a difference. More details at www.carersweek.org.

Lynda Bellingham

YEP Letters: August 18