Community campaigners have stepped up their efforts as the deadline looms for Leeds people to have their say about new development in the city - including the locations of 66,000 new homes which could be built by 2028.
The ‘Your city, Your plan’ consultation, which calls for the public’s views on potential locations identified for new housing, employment, retail and green space across Leeds up to 2028, ends at 5pm on Monday, November 16.
So far, over eight weeks, more than 5,000 people have either given their views via www.leeds.gov.uk/yourcity or attended one of 15 drop-in sessions around the city.
After the consultation ends, public feedback will be reviewed by Leeds City Council before its final local masterplan is submitted to the Government for independent examination.
As the deadline approaches, campaigners in areas like Guiseley and Horsforth have been taking direct action, with many keen to draw attention to the need for infrastructure - and protection of the green belt - as part of any development vision.
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Yesterday, dozens of campaigners gathered at the main Horsforth roundabout and urged motorists to write in to object to the council’s development plans.
Demonstrators held up ‘Save Leeds Green Belt’ placards, posters and banners, and positioned themselves by the traffic lights on the notoriously busy route,
Event organiser Joel Kaufman said: “Everyone understands that some new housing development is needed, but agrees that it should not be luxury housing on protected green belt.
“Sites such as Kirkstall Forge are the benchmark that the people of Leeds should insist on – by developing brownfield land, that places infrastructure and community before high end housing.
“It’s up to the people of Leeds to object to the proposals, such as those planned along the A65 from Horsforth, through Rawdon and to Guiseley which would destroy huge swathes of much loved countryside and cause traffic chaos for the already overwhelmed roads.”
In Barwick and Scholes, locals organised their own consultation event, booking a church and printing 2,500 flyers.
George Hall, a community campaigner and planning expert, said: “We got a very good turnout, with 126 visitors over four hours.
“It’s not a matter of saying we don’t want the houses - it’s about putting infrastructure in a timely manner.”
The consultation is in relation to two key documents, the Core Strategy, a long-term development masterplan for Leeds which was adopted last year after being endorsed by a government inspector, and the council’s own Site Allocations plan.
To provide the proposed homes, the plans split the Leeds district into 11 geographical housing areas with the new homes to be developed in three phases.
The city centre and ‘inner area’ of Armley, Beeston Hill, Belle Isle, Gipton and Harehills, Hyde Park and Woodhouse, Hunslet and Seacroft would get the most housing, in a bid to help boost regeneration and economic growth in those parts of the city.
But significant amounts of homes would be in outlying areas.
Leeds City Council executive member for regeneration, transport and planning councillor Richard Lewis said: “The response to the public consultation has been good so far, especially with some of the drop-in sessions being packed out which was great to see, but we still need as many people as possible to fill in the feedback forms before it closes next Monday.”
As well as outlining the vision for new housing, the Core Strategy lays out plans to bring long-term empty homes back into use, identifies building on brownfield sites (previously developed sites) as apriority and details proposals to provide adequate sites for Gypsy and Traveller communities.