TV Harrison 61-house plan to go back before Leeds Council panel

Plans to build dozens of houses on an historic part of Leeds’s sporting heritage have been submitted to planning chiefs.

Wednesday, 22nd September 2021, 12:01 pm
Updated Wednesday, 22nd September 2021, 12:02 pm

Around 61 new council houses will be one step closer to being built on land at Oldfield Lane, Wortley, if a planning application is accepted in principle at a meeting of Leeds City Council planning chiefs next week.

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TV Harrison Sports Ground - How this field of dreams helped nurture a generation...

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A charity football match which took place on the field in March 2020.

Campaigners against the development had said such a move would “destroy” a beloved community football pitch that was left to the people of Leeds nearly 100 years ago.

Ward councillors, residents and Sport England had each lodged objections to the development earlier this year, but council housing officers claimed the area of Leeds the site sits in suffered from a severe shortage of social housing.

Planning permission had previously been given to build on the site back in March but, following a legal challenge, was quashed by the High Court.

Planning officers have now suggested councillors approve the plans in principle, with a final decision made by council officers, once a playing fields strategy from Sport England is published, in order to see whether the site is “surplus” to requirements for the local area.

The report, set to be discussed at a meeting of Leeds City Council’s South and West Plans Panel, read: ” Sport England is aware that Leeds City Council are about to commence a Playing Pitch Strategy and this will provide a robust and up to date evidence base in respect of the demand and supply for pitch sports in the area.

“We would suggest that the applicant, who we note is Leeds City Council, should wait until the strategy is completed as this will determine whether the site is surplus or not.

“If the applicant is not prepared to wait until the strategy has been completed, then they should look to provide a replace playing field in accordance with exception E4 of Sport England’s Playing Fields Policy.

“Any replacement playing field site should be accessible to the people who currently use the existing playing field.”

The site, known as the TV Harrison field was used for sport following local headteacher Thomas Vernon Harrison helping to raise £1,200 back in 1931 to buy the land for the children to use.

Since then it had become home to Leeds City Boys, which featured the best young players from Leeds schools until the site was closed in 2004.

However, members of the local community have since contributed to the upkeep and maintenance of the site as a football pitch.

The meeting will take place on Thursday, September 23.

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