A community group aiming to provide Kirkstall residents with more of a say over the future of their community say they’ve made ‘significant’ progress over the past year.
But they’ve acknowledged it could be another two years before the plan becomes a reality.
The Kirkstall Neighbourhood Forum (KNF) was formed in 2016 to prepare a Kirkstall Neighbourhood Plan, which gives residents better control over new development and greater influence over the spending of local funds.
The plan will also help to consider ways on how to tackle some of the major issues affecting Kirkstall, including traffic congestion.
At KNF’s annual general meeting last night, chairman John Liversedge said progress had been made through public engagement during the past 12 months.
Mr Liversedge said the group has received £6,787 from national community support organisation Locality to carry out its engagement via public meetings, thousands of leaflets and schools.
He said the forum would be working with local groups and forums and added:
“In 2019 we have made significant progress, which has been a fair time coming. We are starting to hit the nail on the head.
“We’ve been carrying out a lot of consultation and engagement across the Kirkstall ward, which is a big area to cover, and we’re hoping soon to move on from the results of that engagement which hasn’t been an easy job.”
Leeds City Council, who are helping the forum prepare the plan, were represented by Ian MacKay, who has citywide responsibility for neighbourhood forums. He provided a potential timeline for the plan:
- Summer 2020 – agree vision and objectives
- Late 2020 – prepare draft plan
- January 2021 – Approve draft plan at AGM
- Summer/Autumn 2021 – Examination of draft plan
- Winter 2021/Spring 2022 – Referendum to approve plan
Mr MacKay explained that the plan would not replace local and national planning policy, but would work alongside it.
He stressed the idea wasn’t to stop development in Kirkstall, but achieve better and more measured development across the ward, which includes Burley, Hawksworth Wood and parts of the Spen Lane area.
KNF has 200 members. The board was re-elected unanimously.
The meeting also debated local concerns over a proposed new footpath from Kirkstall Forge to Kirkstall Abbey and plans for a new sales pitch for 100 cars off Commercial Road which was recently invalidated.
There was also a lively discussion over Artisan’s plans for a more than 260 properties at the former Kirkstall District Centre site, with residents urged to object to the proposals amid calls for greater public consultation by developers.