Community buys woodland field in Leeds to protect it from development

Campaigners at the site on Gledhow Valley Road.
Campaigners at the site on Gledhow Valley Road.
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A woodland field in Leeds is to be protected from development after a successful crowdfunding campaign raised £30,000 to buy it.

Friends of Gledhow Valley Woods (FGVW) launched the bid to buy a field off Gledhow Valley Road in Chapel Allerton which the private landowner had previously tried to obtain planning permission to build housing on.

Donations from the community topped £28,500 but further funding and negotiations were needed to secure the field, one of two which had been subject to the planning application.

Now FGVW have bought the one acre site, formal ownership will transfer to them once a move to become a charitable incorporated organisation has been completed.

Martin Calvert, chairman of FGVW, said: “It’s brilliant. We are just very happy.

“About 400 people donated altogether. It’s really nice and very humbling that people care that much.

“We have put quite a lot of money into this field but in 10 years time, we will be really pleased we have done it.

“It doesn’t really matter what we paid, as developing this land is now off the agenda.”

He said their initial plans for the site were to look at fencing it and planting a hedgerow, and an ecological survey is to be carried out.

The two fields opposite Gledhow Valley Woods were last year the subject of a controversial planning application to build 14 homes there.

The application was rejected by Leeds councillors, a decision which was appealed but the appeal was also rejected.

Mr Calvert said FGVW were meeting the owner of the remaining field, the Catholic Diocese of Leeds, next month along with Coun Jane Dowson and Leeds North MP Fabian Hamilton.