Controversial plans to build council housing on the TV Harrison Sports Ground are set to come a step closer to reality this week, writes Keely Bannister.
On Wednesday, a report titled ‘Leeds Local Plan – Adoption of the Site Allocations Plan’ will be put to the city’s decision-making executive board recommending that they adopt the Site Allocation Plan (SAP), which includes the Oldfield Lane site in Wortley.
The SAP is a key document in the Local Plan for Leeds, a statutory development plan for the Leeds District, which identifies sites for housing as well as employment, retail and greenspace including any onsite requirements developers will be expected to provide.
In the Outer West appendix of the SAP, the old Leeds City Boy’s pitch site is listed as being 1.7 hectares with a housing capacity of 61 units. The document lists the site requirements as:
“Greenspace: The development should provide new greenspace to extend the existing area of greenspace to the north and to create a green link across the site from this greenspace to Oldfield Lane, in accordance with West Leeds Gateway SPD. The existing sports facilities should be relocated in Leeds and / or local improvements to existing facilities in the locality of the site should be provided.
“Gas Pipelines: The site is affected by a gas pipeline. Detailed design layout should have regard to the building proximity distance required. Consult with Northern Gas Networks to see if any additional plant protection provisions are needed.”
A second report titled ‘Council Housing Growth Programme Update’, which will be presented to the same exec board meeting, gives some more detail into the planned development of the site for housing.
Point 3.10 reads:
“Oldfield Lane (Farnley and Wortley) c.47 homes – The site has been allocated for housing development in the Leeds Site Allocations Plan (SAP) which is due to be adopted in summer 2019. Site surveys and investigations are to be carried out and the intention is that a planning application will be submitted in autumn 2019, prior to the procurement of a contractor to deliver the scheme.”
The news will come as a blow to the local residents who have set up an action group to fight to restore the sports pitches and facilities.
The campaign group, who the Dispatch have reported on extensively, argue that the land was left as a gift to the children of Leeds and that it has previously acted as a breeding ground for developing football talent before it was allowed to lay dormant for 14 years.
The group recently held a community day at the site after they spent their own time cutting the overgrown grass and weeds, and they have a petition against any housing development which has attracted over 1300 signatures.
You can view all the reports being presented to the executive board and watch them being discussed via a webcast by clicking here.
UPDATED, June 27, 12.54pm:
Rachel Reeves, Member of Parliament for Leeds West, said:
“I am very disappointed about the level of public consultation on this matter and hope that the council will do more to re-assure the people of Wortley about investing in local sports and addressing local concerns.
“We desperately need more housing in our community – especially council and affordable housing, and so a commitment to build homes is welcome. However, we also need more green spaces and sports provision for young people.
“I have raised the concerns of the TV Harrison action group with Leeds City Council on a number of occasions and am still awaiting for assurances following my most recent correspondence. There are lessons for the council to learn here on community engagement.”
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