Help Save Haigh Woods!
Update- 4th March 2022
Dear West Ardsley Residents,
As you will already be aware the outline planning permission for the Haigh Woods Housing Development was granted during the lockdown of 2020. The disappointment of this decision has been immense for both our community and the WAAG Steering Committee. However, we are not to be deterred!
Where we are now…
Details of the development are still up for discussion and you, as a member of our community, can still have a say. The WAAG Steering committee met with Redrow representatives to discuss community consultation plans. WAAG then invited representatives from Redrow to walk around the area to discuss the existing green space and how the current plans for the new development could affect our community.
Unfortunately, despite WAAG making it clear that our meetings should not be regarded as a substitute for a full public consultation, Redrow have since confirmed that the only form of community consultation to be carried out is the leaflet residents, that they considered to be the most affected, received in July 2021. A revised site plan has been added to the Portal this week (28.02), it is backdated to January, but the revision was made on 14th February. Despite agreeing to consider individual objections for those bordering the site, it is disappointing to see minimal changes.
If you lodged an individual objection, please check to see if these have been considered in the new plans.
What can we still do?
Despite the very limited consultation, our community can still put forward their objections to the detailed plans currently on the Leeds County Council Planning Portal. You can send objections to one or more of the following:
– On the Leeds City Council Planning Portal https://publicaccess.leeds.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=documents&keyVal=QYALDSJB0C000
– By posting a letter to Leeds City Council Planning Services, Merrion House, 110 Merrion Centre, Leeds, LS2 8BB.
– Address your concerns directly to the councillors on the City Plans Panel https://democracy.leeds.gov.uk/mgCommitteeDetails.aspx?ID=947
Don’t forget to use the planning reference number 21/07156/RM in all correspondence
Why should I bother when the development will go ahead regardless?
It is true that we cannot stop the development, however we can use this opportunity to have our say about what the houses look like for those directly affected. We can try to influence how the development impacts the surrounding woodlands and our precious green space, that was the saviour of so many residents during the recent lockdowns.
We realise that it has been a long and frustrating fight against this development, and with the recent pandemic, that people may have other priorities now. However, this is our last chance to influence the proceedings and salvage something from the devastating loss of green space to our community.
How can we do this?
By focussing on a positive approach and providing possible solutions to the aspects of the development where the community would like to see changes, Redrow cannot deny that the community has tried to engage with positivity. It is up to us as a community to make our voice heard and make the Councillors of the City Plans Panel take notice.
– As a confirmed piece of precious Ancient Woodland, do you agree that it needs to be managed? Would you like to see changes, or do you think the funds would be better spent elsewhere? Perhaps other facilities in the area that could be improved? Do you want to see more sports and play facilities for the younger members of our community? Would our area benefit from more allotments or community gardens?
– In the current climate emergency do you think that the houses could be built in a more sustainable manor? Are there improvements or changes that you think could make them more environmentally friendly?
WAAG needs you, our community, to help with this one last stand. With over 3,000 objections to the original application, we owe it to ourselves to try and preserve our lovely community…
Please don’t leave it too late to make your voice heard – help us make a difference!
Update February 2022
COMMUNITY UPDATE ON REDROW HOUSING DEVELOPMENT. 21/07156/RM AT WEST ARDSLEY:
Following the “refusal of the “call in” request and the issue of the LCC Outline approval notice, it became apparent that a housing development of some form was inevitable.
The site developer was confirmed as Redrow in mid July 2021. The subsequent detailed planning application, was posted on the LCC portal on 27th January 2021.
As there had been no proper attempt at public consultation, when the detailed planning application was posted, WAAG re-iterated their request to engage with the developer, in raising and addressing local concerns about the current plan.
To this effect the Haigh Woods Steering Committee, and associated consulting residents held a meeting at 2pm on 27th September with Redrow representatives at the West Ardsley Community Centre, Batley Road, Hill Top.
Points raised at the meeting:
- WAAG referred to, the Redrow 8 Principles set out in their “Designing a Better Way to Live”. Principle 1 Listen to Learn and Principle 2 Keeping it Local in particular and their key importance at this stage.
- Going forward, WAAG offered to assist with community consultation so that residents can have a voice. WAAG emphasised that offering to assist in this way cannot be a substitute for a public consultation. It is only fair that residents should be given the opportunity to comment on the development themselves.
- WAAG have asked Redrow to undertake a more formal public consultation on their proposals; the limited leaflet drop of last July being completely inadequate for this purpose. We await their response.
- In the context of the above, we have asked Redrow to produce a single plan, which shows the layout of all four parts of the development and the details of the treatment of the open space and of Haigh Wood, so that people can see everything at one go, rather than having to rummage through dozens of separate plans. Other illustrative aids to visually explain the developments to residents should be considered.
Haigh Woods and Green Space:
- The priority for Haigh Wood should be to preserve its biodiversity as much as possible. The green spaces within the development should be sited so as to be readily accessible to the new residents, and also to discourage inappropriate over-use of Haigh Wood.
- Redrow will come back with a breakdown of what green space is being provided at the Haigh Wood development. This is not provided at the moment. Residents can only estimate.
- Having raised concerns about Haigh Wood and the green spaces proposed within the development. Redrow have agreed to have their landscape / ecology consultants walk the site and neighbouring green space areas, along with our expert colleagues, to gain an understanding of the existing site and how they might improve their current plan.
- WAAG raised the question of whether they had followed relevant Key Policies; Core Strategies and considered LCC specifications on the provision of Green Spaces. WAAG asked for information on how these have been applied. Redrow will review these. They will also consider the design of Green Spaces, which will be inclusive for children with particular needs, such as autism and mobility issues.
Local Housing Needs
- They will look at their proposed mix of house types, given that they have apparently not yet produced the local housing needs assessment required by the outline planning permission, and relied instead on Leeds-wide figures. Note: It was pointed out that the number of new houses proposed conflicts with Council policies however, without LCC Planners applying their policies, Redrow are unlikely to make significant changes on the number or locations.
- LCC policy is to apply a 20mph limit to this development. They will consider how best to ensure physically that traffic speeds within the development are minimised.
Public Transport Access
- They will look again at public transport access, given Arriva’s recent announcement of the withdrawal of service 117 to Leeds, which they were not aware of. The 117 is to be replaced by a re-routing of the 203 via Batley Road and Haigh Moor Road
- Redrow will also provide clarification about new footpaths and how cycle routes will be provided as part of the design.
Site Traffic Issues:
WAAG Impressed upon Redrow there will be traffic dangers and difficulties around Westerton and Hill Top school start and finish times. Redrow will try to mitigate problems, starting with their tendering arrangements with contractors.
Further Clarifications by Redrow:
Confirm their Design and Access Statement is the most updated and what relevant documents are missing from the LCC website.
For further consideration by Redrow:
- They will look at every existing objection individually with a view to amending their plans so as to resolve as many of these as possible, eg overlooking, overshadowing, boundary treatment, etc.
- Redrow will consider the boundary strategy for biodiversity benefits for example – plans currently show long sections of fencing instead of tree planting which was proposed at outline stage and also provides screening of the new housing.
- Redrow will consider the housing mix for example the feasibility of bungalows near sensitive areas (e.g. edges of the development).
Redrow have committed to looking at every communication, which they receive from local residents. In particular if you live on the edge of the development we would urge you to forward your concerns ASAP.
A meeting of the WAAG/STEERING COMMITTEE of the SAVE HAIGH WOODS CAMPAIGN was held on Thursday 11th January 2019. to review and discuss the latest developments.
Attached below is an update from our Steering Committee on the current status of the campaign and the decision making process.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank our Steering Committee for the sterling work they have already undertaken and continue to do so on our behalf.
The fight is not over, and is not in vain, whilst the prolonged decision making process continues we will continue our efforts to prevent the unnecessary and unwanted development in the heart of our community. You can help! If you, or somebody you know, have not already lodged an objection against the planning application, it is not too late.
For and on behalf of West Ardsley Action Group
SAVE HAIGH WOODS UPDATE
- The SAP is not yet finalised. Our site currently remains on the list of land that can be built upon. The fight continues…
- Even if we remain in the SAP it does not mean that the planning permission will be granted.
- With nearly 3,000 objections we are in a fantastic position to continue to oppose. (it is still not too late to object!)
- The final decision on the planning application could technically happen at any time (although we think it may be later this year)
- Plans are already being made to be able to spring into action once we hear the council are moving to decision making time!
Nearly a year ago the Methodist Church on Haigh Moor Road was packed out with concerned residents who did not want our beautiful land surrounding Haigh Woods to become yet another concrete jungle.
Since that meeting a lot has happened and various residents have been doing a tremendous job fighting to save the land.
So where are we now?
You may remember there are two separate processes affecting the land. The first is the Site Allocation Plan (SAP). The second being the outline planning application.
Both are complicated and quite frankly bureaucratic processes but, very simplistically, the SAP is Leeds City Council’s own plan as to which sites across the city can be built on by developers. Over the last year the SAP has been consulted on, reviewed, inspected etc. Members of the West Ardsley Action Group attended the public hearings and a case has been made to take our land out of the list of sites that can be built on.
At present, our land still remains in the list of sites that can be built on. We are still fighting to change this. The process is now at a stage where there is nothing more that can be done by WAAG. It is likely to be sometime later this year, probably June 19, before the Council finish all their bureaucracy and publish their final plan.
BUT! even if we remain in the list of sites that can be built on in the SAP, that does not mean that the planning permission will be granted.
Outline planning permission was applied for back in December 2017. As yet the council have not made a final decision about it.
There has been amazing support from residents with just short of 3,000 objections being lodged with the council. This is outstanding and as a village we should congratulate ourselves for this outstanding achievement.
A detailed and technical objection has been submitted by WAAG (it runs to over 70 pages). WAAG continually monitor to ensure that if there is any new documentation released by either the council or developers, it is responded to, picking away at their case for building housing and making as difficult as we can for the council to approve the plans.
Currently, the best way to put it is that the planning application is on hold whilst the developers do some further work to try and convince the council it is a viable development.
At the moment it is a waiting game for us. Once we hear that the council are going to be making a decision about the planning application that is when we will all need to spring into action, get the profile raised again and apply political pressure to oppose.
If there are people you know that still haven’t objected, its not too late! Either submit it on the councils on line planning portal or get in touch and we will make sure it gets to the right place.
Thank you for your continued support
West Ardsley Action Group
A planning application has been submitted to Leeds City Council for a development of 299 houses to be built on the land surrounding Haigh Wood (known locally as Eggy Woods) and two other sites, one off Haigh Moor Road and one off Westerton Road.
WAAG is strongly opposed to the application which will have a devastating effect on our environment and village. This is a non-sustainable proposal as no infrastructure has been included into the plans.