Words: John Baron
A Calverley & Farsley councillor has welcomed a Government planning inspector’s findings that 37 former green belt sites around Leeds will be returned to the greenbelt.
A planning blueprint, called the Site Allocation Plan, had already been revised by Leeds City Council following a legal challenge in the High Court by a community group in Aireborough last year.
But the issue had been ‘remitted’ to the Secretary of State, without any green belt sites being used for housing allocation in the 2012 to 2028 plan.
Essentially, the decision means the Green Belt boundary around Leeds will stay the same as it was in 2006 because Leeds City Council say there are no exceptional circumstances to change it – for now.
A letter outlining the Planning Inspector’s view backing the withdrawal of the sites from the plan was this week published on the examination website, ahead of the publication of a final report.
The sites include three in Calverley & Farsley and Pudsey wards.
Councillor Andrew Carter welcomed the findings and said:
“I spent more than three days at the Planning Inquiry, which was conducted remotely, asking that these sites should all be returned to the greenbelt. I have to say, the fact that 36 are to be reinstated is very good news, particularly as they include sites in my own ward of Calverley and Farsley, and also a site in the Pudsey Ward.
“Daleside Road, Gain Lane, and Calverley are among the sites to be returned to the greenbelt.
“The simple fact is, the Council should never have included these sites in their housing plans anyway. It is regrettable, however, that they still seem to be trying to find exceptions to the ruling, such as the site at the old Leeds City College on the Ring Road at Horsforth.”
This Remittal to the Secretary of State, following a review of the housing land supply in Leeds, was the requirement of the Judge in Aireborough Neighbourhood Development Forum‘s legal challenge.
This followed Mrs Justice Lieven’s judgement that there had been errors of law in the process that had allocated green belt sites in Aireborough, as well as a material error of fact made by the council in their housing supply figures that affected the whole of Leeds.
Updated Monday: This article was updated to clarify that the inspector had submitted a letter to the Consultancy Site webpage, not a final report as originally stated.