Controversial plans for new homes on green belt land in Leeds could be ripped up

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Proposals for thousands of new homes on green belt land in Leeds could be shelved, the Yorkshire Evening Post can reveal today.

As previously reported by the YEP, city council bosses have drawn up a Site Allocations Plan (SAP) setting out space for the construction of 66,000 homes across Leeds by 2028.

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But in September the Government announced it was consulting on guidelines that could see the city being given a reduced target of finding room for 42,000 new homes over the same period.

And, following a review prompted by that announcement, Leeds City Council today released a list of 33 green belt sites that could be wholly or partly removed from the SAP and protected from future development.

As the SAP currently stands, around 6,450 homes are due to be built on the sites between now and 2028.

A total of 29 of the sites, in places such as Yeadon, Guiseley, Rothwell, Calverley and Pudsey, could be taken out of the SAP in their entirety, preventing any building of homes on them until 2028 at the earliest.

The remaining four, in Parlington, Garforth, Gildersome and Tingley, could be partly protected but still earmarked for some development.

The number of homes being built across those four sites would be reduced from 3,000 to 2,000.

Members of the council’s development plan panel will be asked at a meeting on Tuesday to approve a public consultation on the new proposals.

Coun Richard Lewis, the council’s executive member for regeneration, transport and planning, said: “Recent Government announcements on housing have resulted in the council taking prudent and responsible steps to review this information and the implications for Leeds.

“Getting our long-term housing policy and direction planned in a clear and right way is essential for the future of our city and our communities.

“We have successfully struck a balance between allowing our city to grow and develop in a co-ordinated and fair way, meeting the need for new homes across Leeds and ensuring there is no unnecessary loss of green belt land.

“Based on this approach, the council has taken stock of longer term allocations for housing in the green belt, with a view to protecting 33 housing sites, rather than releasing them from the green belt prematurely.

“This equates to nearly 55 per cent of the green belt sites currently allocated in the plan.”

The list of green belt sites that could be removed in their entirety from the SAP includes Shaw Lane in Guiseley and Banksfield Mount in Yeadon.

Also on the list are: Coach Road, Guiseley; Gill Lane, Yeadon; Woodlands Drive, Rawdon; Weetwood Avenue, Headingley; the former Sacrament Church, Keswick Lane, Bardsey; Farfield House, Bramham; Green Acres and Equestrian Centre, Bramhope; Creskeld Lane, Bramhope; Haighside, Rothwell; Leadwell Lane, Robin Hood; Westgate Lane, Lofthouse; Church Farm, Lofthouse; Newtown Farm, Micklefield; Selby Road/Leeds Road, Kippax; Whitehouse Lane, Great Preston; Brigshaw Lane, Kippax; Westfield Farm, Drighlington; Highfield Drive/Harthill Lane, Gildersome; Gelderd Road/M621, Gildersome; Haigh Moor Road, Tingley; Westerton Road, East Ardsley; Upper Carr Lane, Calverley; Calverley Lane, Calverley; Rodley Lane; Hough Side Road, Pudsey; Acres Hall Avenue, Pudsey.

The four sites that could see a drastic reduction in their number of proposed homes are listed by the council as: land at Parlington; Stourton Grange Farm South, Selby Road, Garforth; Bradford Road/Wakefield Road, Gildersome; Old Thorpe Lane, Tingley.

Plans for new homes in Parlington, between Aberford and Barwick in Elmet to the east of Leeds, have proved particularly contentious during the four years that the council has been working on the SAP.

Speaking in March this year, Adrienne Sykes, chairwoman of the Save Parlington campaign group, told the Yorkshire Evening Post that the area had “history and a unique heritage”, adding: “People are absolutely devastated.”

Mrs Sykes also said that at least 4,000 letters of objection had been lodged to the proposals.

Inspectors appointed by the Government are unlikely to start running the rule over the housing elements of Leeds’s SAP until next summer.

A starting date of March 2018 has previously been set for the legally-required examination of the city’s homes blueprint.

But today’s announcement and the public consultation that is expected to follow means the process is now not due to begin until July.

The inspectors have already looked at aspects of the plan covering areas such as retail and employment.

Michael Tennant.

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