Letter from The Forum To Planning Officer regarding Objections and Comment in respect of Application 18/04343/RM The Land East of Otley Road
Planning Services, Merrion House
110 Merrion Centre, LEEDS
28 November 2018
Dear Mrs Cunningham
Land to the East of Otley Road, Adel, Leeds – Application Number 18/04343/RM
We wish to make a number of further comments on this Reserved Matters application. As you are aware we have made a number of comments already and these still stand. Little appears to have changed in the BDWH proposals, notwithstanding opposition to many aspects of the proposal, both from statutory consultees and from residents.
Adel Neighbourhood Forum and significant numbers of local people individually have consistently objected to any development on this site. However we recognise that with outline planning approval having been granted, some development will take place on the land to the west of the beck running through this site.
We are bitterly disappointed with the submissions made by the developer in this Reserved Matters application as they show a blatant disregard for any of the views of the local community and in effect are stating their views are irrelevant. This follows on from feeble efforts to carry out any sort of local consultation. It is therefore with regret that we have to address the detail of these submissions in the hope that the Council will be able to take a more robust stance when it comes to consideration by the Plans Panel. We also note that BDWH appear reluctant to answer several important and valid questions raised by Council Officers, despite many requests. We consider that this behaviour should be carefully considered when determining whether its application should be adjudged ready to be considered by the Plans Panel. The Plans panel should be made aware of the lack of co-operation by BDWH.
Along with many others we have articulated that this site is of particular significance in view of its heritage and landscape context.
The site layout/ landscaping in the reserved matters application is radically different from that which was submitted to enable the developer to gain outline consent.
Whilst it is accepted that the site layout which was submitted was illustrative only, the landscape appraisal which was submitted in order to secure outline consent was not just illustrative but included numerous substantive undertakings. Those undertakings included landscaping designed to soften the impact of this development on the sensitive historic and rural surroundings: attenuation ponds with surroundings designed to improve biodiversity, screening belts of trees on all sides, respectful treatment of the ancient Corpse Way etc.
Having secured their outline consent, the reserved matters application shows that BDWH are now attempting to renege on these undertakings, stripping away all the positive landscaping features and offering a far inferior scheme. This must not be allowed. BDWH should be made to adhere to each and every one of their undertakings. They will not be in any position to appeal about the imposition of planning conditions requiring landscaping works which they themselves have volunteered.
BDWH appear to be playing a game of drip-feeding some minimal landscaping effort back into the layout in the hope that they will get away with deleting the rest. They must be made to adhere to the promises which secured their outline consent.
This site was originally earmarked for 58 houses in the draft site allocation process. We believe that was an appropriate figure, having regard to prevailing housing density in Adel and the special rural and historic nature of this site. The developers persuaded planning officers to increase the number to 85. We considered that number too high as it would create a very dense development. However, BDWH now wish to squeeze 100 houses onto the site
The majority of the problems with this application arise from BDWH being greedy in attempting to squeeze 100 houses onto the site. And all the proposed houses are large apart from the mandatory “affordable” (social) housing. The figure of 85 houses was clearly not arrived at randomly, and it should be the absolute maximum number of houses allowed on the site so that the problems referred to can be resolved or at least mitigated.
We have examined the “Design and Access Statement” submitted in support of the application. It contains numerous inaccuracies, half-truths and misrepresentations and needs to be read with a sceptical eye.
We have the following observations about the proposed development, which as you are aware, is opposite a Grade 1 listed, 12th century Norman church of “exceptional national significance” ( English Heritage), opposite Adel conservation area and adjacent to countryside classified as a Special Landscape Area:
Site Topography and Environment
The Design and Access Statement (“DAS”) seeks to downplay the sloping nature of the site. At 3.0 it states “Generally the site has a gently sloping platform, the highest point being 134m AOD on the south-east and south-western corners, falling to 129m AOD in the north-east and north-western corners.“ What the DAS should have added is that the site falls a further 10 metres down to the beck running through the middle of the site and that the site is therefore quite steep in places. We note that Council Officers have made this point repeatedly to BDWH who persist in try to present this as a flat site.
The site slopes quite steeply about 50 feet down to the beck from the plateau on which Adel churchyard stands. This is important in understanding the visual impact the development will have from the churchyard and conservation area. We can only assume that BDWH are asserting that the site is almost flat to support their incorrect assertion that it will be blocked from view from the churchyard by newly planted trees adjacent to the beck.
It is on this steep part of the site where BDWH proposes that school sports pitches be placed; that would be impossible without significant earthworks and terracing. This is a major issue which would have significant cost and quality implications and it needs to be addressed now.
Similarly, the land slopes quite steeply from the Northern edge of the site in a North-Easterly direction across the Special landscape Area down to Adel Mill. Houses on the Northern part of the site will be very visible when entering Adel from the North East and would need to be screened by a substantial tree belt. We would draw attention to the unfortunate visual impact that the Centurion Fields development presents. It is exacerbated by the way the developer built several of the houses well above the previously level of the site.
Part 3.0 of the DAS goes on (at page 10) to provide a very misleading description of the context in which this site is located. It asserts that the land to the west of the site comprises “The prominent Lawnswood Arms public house and a mixture of 1930s and 1960s semi-detached houses”. In fact the pub and four 1930s semis (there are none from the 1960s) are on Otley Road and are invisible from the site because only a tiny portion of the western side of the site actually abuts Otley Road- and that is partly screened by mature trees. The great majority of the western side of the site abuts woodland garden surrounding Adel Willows. This is not “a strong residential boundary” as asserted.
At 5.0 of the DAS it is asserted that “Existing views from the Church directly west currently terminate on the housing on the West of Otley Road creating a suburban view.” This is simply not true. Views west from the church terminate at the trees surrounding Adel Willows which is between the church and Otley Road and blocks any view of Otley Road. The assertion at 5.0 that “New woodland planting within the site will ….create a more rural view..” is grossly untruthful for the reasons set out above.
The east of the site is farmland; the conservation area, Grade 1 listed church and related buildings stated to be at the east of the site are actually beyond that farmland. The north of the site is also farmland, a Special Landscape Area, again with listed buildings beyond.
The only boundary with any significant level of buildings adjoining is the short southern boundary where a recently planted screening belt is overlooked by the BDWH Centurion Fields development.
The southern boundary is short compared with the other boundaries. Approximately 85% of the boundaries to the site adjoins farmland or wooded areas. This is therefore very much a rural site.
It would appear that BDWH are attempting to create a false impression that this site is a suburban location such that its current proposed development will fit in and cause no detriment to the outlook from the churchyard and conservation area. The aerial photograph at the front of the DAS shows a truer picture of the site- which will be confirmed in a site inspection.
Before any reserved matters consent is granted, a site inspection is essential and an accurate representation of the topography, site environment and proposed appearance of the development must be fully presented. There is no reason why BDWH should not provide detailed computer-generated images of what the site will look like, especially from the sensitive viewpoints from the north, north-east and east.
We note that planning officers and many statutory consultees have also demanded that the developer provide a much clearer picture of what this development will actually look like. Any eventual disclosure should be made available for public consultation. These demands have been consistently ignored and we can only conclude that a persistent failure to comply with this reasonable request means that the developer has something to hide. The suggestion (in the developer’s covering letter dated 24 October submitting the most recent layout) that images might be made available after planning consent has been granted is preposterous. It is quite contrary to the principles of the planning process that information fundamental to sound decision -making should be made available, not withheld.
The 3 recent drawings ( submitted 29 October ) showing side on views of part of the development with dotted lines for current ground level marked below are nowhere near good enough with no measurements being provided and no view of how high up the roads and footpaths in front of the houses will sit.
One of the more objectionable aspects of this developer’s adjoining Centurion Fields development is the way the beck has been turned into a ravine with banking and a 10 foot “Berlin Wall” towering over it to the west and the adjoining house on Beech Way essentially standing four storeys high above the beck. A repeat of this type of landscaping/design is not acceptable, particularly when it will be overlooked from the grade 1 Norman church and conservation area.
In their landscape appraisal submitted in support of the outline planning application, the developer stated:” The development and associated infrastructure will be designed to address the existing topography of the land. The valley through the centre of the site will be retained with the bec [sic] running through it. Development platforms on the western side of the site will be at, or below, existing ground levels. Fill will be deposited on the eastern fields to raise levels slightly and be in keeping with existing gradients across the site.”
BDWH should be required to adhere to this promise.
This application should not be allowed to go before a Plans Panel until detailed computer generated images and actual surveyed measurements have been provided of what the whole development will look like, including the likely appearance of a two storey school building, and demonstrating that BDWH have adhered to the promises made in support of the outline application.
The Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government has recently voiced his support for a policy report on housing which identified poor design as being a major factor in opposition to new development, and strengthened policy support for good quality housing. This is very relevant for this proposal. Whilst the rural and historic location meant that Adel residents rightly objected to any development of this site, since outline consent has been granted, the consistent theme from Adel residents has been: “We don’t want a repeat of Centurion Fields.” If there must be development, it should reflect robust local and national policies on design quality and suitability.
English Heritage (as it then was) recommended in 2014 in relation to this site: “The design and materials used for the new buildings will affect the extent and nature of the visual impact of the development when viewed from the church. Therefore, ensuring that the design and materials reflect the local built character will be a critical part of the reserved matters stage. High quality, local materials should be used taking reference from the existing character of the settlement”.
As to materials, BDWH say nothing in their proposal. This lack of transparency is of concern and leads us to assume they intend to use low-quality materials similar to those in their recent developments at Centurion Fields and Bodington Hall.
Apart from the aberration of BDWH’s Centurion Fields development, the building material exclusively used in the neighbouring structures to this site (Adel church, rectory and stables, Adel Willows and Adel Mill and the 1970s development off Holt Avenue) is Yorkshire stone. We would expect this development to be constructed in natural Yorkshire stone. BDWH will sell these houses at a significant premium because of the special location and the use of natural stone will not impede the commercial success of the development.
English Heritage also advised in 2014 that”…..the height of the proposed new dwellings along the west edge of the beck should ideally be 1.5 storeys…..” At the time of the outline application, BDWH stated that the site might indeed include 1.5 storey dwellings. In fact, none appear anywhere in this proposed development and again English Heritage advice has been ignored.
As to character, BDWH claims (Design and Access statement 6.0) that it achieves a green standard. In fact, the proposed houses (according to the drawings submitted with the application) are just standard BDWH house-types in artificial stone with plastic windows which can be found anywhere in the UK. The only ”local” character they reflect is recent BDWH houses., which we consider to be poor quality design and inappropriate to the area. The mediocre design of the proposed development is just not good enough for this special site and goes nowhere near meeting the English Heritage recommendations or local or national policies.
As well as issues about house design, there are other matters of concern such as inappropriate boundary treatments which clearly do not match their setting (contrary to the assertion at 6.0 of the Design and access statement). The overall design of the site shows no sensitivity whatsoever to the rural and historic location.
It is noted from the latest landscape drawing that boundary treatments may now include hedges. This is an improvement, subject to the type and location of hedging (which should not be suburban privet), and should be planted with a view to enhancing provision for wildlife.
The current layout plans no longer list the house types proposed for the site. Earlier iterations showed that the developer proposed to replace 11 four bedroom houses with 3 bedroom detached houses. Plans and elevations of those 3 bedroom houses have never been supplied and must be supplied before this application can go to plans panel.
It is particularly disappointing to note that whilst BDWH are instructing a firm of architects who designed an award- winning site at a similarly sensitive location (Church Fields, Boston Spa), they are apparently only using them for site layout of BDWH standard units. We believe BDWH should be required to allow their architects to start afresh and design something good enough for this special site. At present, the proposed BDWH houses are not even up to the standard of design and materials being offered locally by other national volume house builders, e.g. Redrow in Horsforth.
The assertion by BDWH (Design and Access statement 6.0) that this proposal provides a “varied [housing] mix which would address local housing needs appealing to the needs of all members of the community.” is nothing short of disingenuous. 100% of the houses available on the open market under this proposal are large properties. None is likely to be marketed at much under £500,000. In contrast to BDWH’s assertions, the development they propose will do nothing at all to address local needs.
Adel Neighbourhood Forum requested a Housing Market Needs Assessment in June 2014 (and subsequently commissioned by Leeds City Council) which demonstrated a need for smaller homes suitable for down-sizing by older residents. This need is regularly raised by residents at Adel Neighbourhood Forum meetings. Adel Neighbourhood Forum and our local councillor have raised this as an issue with BDWH on numerous occasions over recent years but have been consistently ignored, with no open- market houses of fewer than 4 bedrooms being offered on the BDWH sites at Centurion Fields or Bodington Hall or under the current proposal.
As a result of the lack of suitable provision for downsizing, older members of the Adel community have reluctantly remained in larger properties, meaning that these are not then available for growing families and those who do downsize have had to leave Adel. One such resident is our local historian and church warden. Our community is very much diminished by the loss of these people and this loss cannot be allowed to continue. It would make much more sense for the current proposed development to include small and medium-sized open- market properties for people to downsize into, thus enabling those who choose to, to remain part of the community, and releasing their family-sized homes for families moving into Adel, particularly as many of these properties are better placed for existing local schools and have larger gardens.
Nor are there any bungalows as intimated in the application for outline consent. Bungalows are important not only for older citizens but also for people with disabilities.
The lack of smaller and mid-sized open-market houses in the proposed development also means there is nothing within the price range of any but the wealthiest young families.
Development which excludes older citizens, those of all ages with disabilities and young families cannot honestly be described as sustainable.
We note that BDWH has submitted a justification for their housing mix which essentially boils down to “ We know best” and that 4 bedroom detached houses are what Adel people want, claiming that a large number of those who bought houses in Centurion Fields were local Adel residents. In fact, BDWH have struggled to sell their large houses at Boddington Manor, offering part exchange from the outset and a huge discount on their final house. A survey of house buyers on Centurion Fields which had a 90% response revealed that only 3 purchasers had come from Adel. Hardly a “large number!” We consider this to be yet another instance of how BDWH are attempting to misrepresent the true position.
Even though BDWH apparently now propose replacing 11 four bedroom houses with three bedroom detached houses, seven of these appear to be almost as large as the four bedroom houses they replace and will no doubt cost almost as much. This is still nowhere near an appropriate housing mix, with no lower cost provision for young families, and no provision of bungalows for less mobile residents, whether elderly or those with disabilities.
Development East of the Beck.
In common with Historic England, Adel Neighbourhood Forum (ANF) remains strenuously opposed to any development East of the beck because of its impact on the environment of the Grade 1 listed and nationally important Norman Church and its churchyard. We note the number of Adel residents who have strongly made the same point.
ANF previously objected to the location of playing fields and associated fencing to the East of the beck; that objection still applies particularly when one takes account of the earthworks and terracing which would be required and which have never been mentioned by BDWH. These will have a significant effect on this sensitive landscape. This important issue needs to be addressed urgently as it will have implications both for the landscape and for the costs and quality associated with the creation of a school on this site.
The Forum is particularly concerned at BDWH’s attempt to introduce further development East of the beck. In the consultation documents submitted in 2016 for the outline planning application, apart from the playing fields, the only changes shown East of the beck were tree-planting and the construction of two ponds to contain possible floodwater which were to be suitably landscaped and planted to become enhanced areas for biodiversity.
The Nature Conservation Team have noted that the current proposals are a departure from the terms of the outline approval and state that there should be no development on areas[east of the beck] hatched in the outline plans.
A pumping station is shown in the previously hatched area east of the beck which quite plainly constitutes “development” within the hatched area and has been introduced as a replacement for the SUDs (ponds) that were originally proposed. BDWH have themselves conceded that a pumping station is a building.
This is wholly unacceptable. If a pumping station is required it should be placed to the West of the beck in place of one or more of the proposed houses.
ANF had been told by a Planning Officer that consent for the pumping station has already been given. If that had been the case, that decision was made without public consultation and was therefore ultra vires and unlawful.
Leeds City Council have subsequently confirmed that planning consent for a pumping station has not been granted..
In order to protect the special and important setting of the church, no temporary site depot or buildings should be allowed east of the beck at any time. BDWH will have plenty of space on the site west of the beck, particularly given the availability of the land reserved for school buildings.
BDWH have submitted an additional document attempting to justify the proposed pumping station. In it they quote wording from Yorkshire Water which they argue supports their position. However, we have been told by Yorkshire Water that Yorkshire Water had no knowledge of this development. It transpired that BDWH were quoting wording used by Yorkshire water in relation to a different development. We are very concerned at this apparent deceit by BDWH which we believe should be brought to the attention of the Plans Panel.
Expert advice has informed us that there is absolutely no reason, whether technical or otherwise, why the pumping station could not be built to the west of the beck, irrespective of which mains sewer the development is drained into.
It is apparent to us that BDWH only want to build it to the east of the beck so that they can get more houses on the land to the west of the beck than was envisaged in the draft site allocation plan.
In their letter of 24 October, BDWH are claiming that Adel residents are opposed to the pumping station only because they fear additional housing east of the beck. This assertion has no basis in fact and is untrue. Adel residents object to the pumping station in and of itself.
Of course Adel residents are suspicious as to why the developer has planted hundreds of new trees adjacent to Church Lane, but that is an entirely separate issue.
Footpath 17: proposed BDWH destruction of ancient path
This path (crossing the Southern part of the site from west to east) is known locally as the Corpse Way because it was used historically for carrying the dead from the west of the parish to Adel church. The path is ancient and marked at each end and near the beck with ancient stone stiles and steps. It is an important historic and social asset worthy of respect and preservation in accordance with local and national policies.
The initial proposals completely obliterating this ancient footpath west of the beck were wholly unacceptable.
(The line of the existing right of way was arguably retained if one crossed and re-crossed road, pavement and verge -although we doubt the accuracy of the route on BDWH’s plans-, but there is a significant difference between preserving a bare right of way and preserving the character and route of an ancient footpath).
It goes without saying that the ancient stiles and steps must be preserved. But the form of a proper footpath must also be retained. Previous iterations of BDWH’s proposals for this site have shown it as remaining a footpath with wide verges and scope for tree planting. This is what was recommended by the Landscape Team. The proposed substitution of a line along an estate road/pavement/verges is not acceptable.
In their landscape appraisal submitted in support of the outline application, the developer stated: ”Footpath 17 is retained on its exiting alignment within a green landscape corridor. Vehicular crossings are minimised and houses arranged to face out over the route to provide natural surveillance”. The developer should be made to adhere to this promise.
In their revised layout of 26 October, BDWH have reinstated the footpath but only as a narrow suburban path between houses. They should be made to adhere to the proposal for the footpath to be accommodated “within a green landscape corridor”- with wide verges and natural (not suburban) tree/shrub planting appropriate to such a corridor. If need be, the front gardens of the adjoining houses should be reduced to accommodate a corridor of appropriate width-at least 10 metres.
We understand that BDWH have no particular proposals for this footpath on the eastern side of the beck. However, we understand that the Highways Department is imposing a condition that it should be converted into a 3 metre wide hard-surfaced footpath and cycle path. This decision- made without any consultation- wholly ignores the universally- accepted need to maintain the rural character of the fields to the east of the beck. There is already a perfectly adequate surfaced foot and cycle route to the site via Centurion Fields so there is no justification in terms of accessibility. The path east of the beck should be left as it is. If it is considered necessary to revise the footpath east of the beck in connection with foot traffic to the school, that issue should only be addressed at the time of a reserved matters application in respect of the school and with proper public consultation.
Similarly there should be no construction of a raised pedestrian crossing in front of the church without the support of the Adel community following thorough consultation. Such creeping urbanisation would fly in the face of the advice from English Heritage/Historic England.
BDWH have submitted a new landscape plan ( 1 November ) which appears to show the old stone bridge and stile where the footpath crosses the beck being replaced by a new bridge made from railway sleepers. This is not acceptable. The bridge and stile are ancient and must be preserved. We would have no problem with BDWH having an additional path branching off the PROW to a new bridge (not culvert) over the beck.
There is no reason why Adel residents should not secure some positive outcomes from this development.
The developer should be required as a condition of reserved matters consent to lay out a new rural public footpath running from PROW 17 along the eastern and northern boundaries of the site to meet Old Damstone Lane at the north west of the site. This would have the potential in the longer term to provide a considerable improvement to the current route of the Meanwood Valley Trail.
A second new rural footpath should be provided into and across the public greenspace linking the steps next to the Centurion Fields pumping station with PROW 17 , providing improved amenity to the residents of Centurion Fields
A large number of trees on the North Western part of the site are protected by TPOs. If developers are allowed to fell such trees, the whole concept of TPOs becomes pointless and Leeds City Council’s position totally undermined.
ANFs position in relation to trees on this site is that the only trees which should be felled (whether TPO protected or otherwise) are those which are the bare minimum necessary to enable an access road from Otley Road to reach the site. No trees should be felled in order to make way for housing; the housing should be built around the trees.
The trees on the site are not only important in their own right; as the Nature Team has pointed out, those on the north west provide a valuable dark corridor for bats and other wildlife which must be preserved. Plot 1 should be deleted from the plans entirely (on which more below) and those trees which cannot avoid being felled for an access road should be replaced by appropriate native species planted in and around the entrance to the site and the current position of plot 1. This part of the site was agreed at the outline consent stage as being a Biodiversity Area. That should remain the case.
The company undertaking the Biodiversity Management Plan for DWH has recycled the previous tree and bat survey. Some of the trees (T69 for example with some roosting potential) are not there anymore (this tree was removed in 2016, and unfortunately they never replaced it). They still name this tree on the report. No doubt the same has happened with other trees. In this report there is no mention that some trees with bat roosting potential are going to be removed to accommodate some of the houses (T42, T44, TG16.1, TG16.2 and XT8, according to a previous Bat Survey). BDWH only mention the trees that are going to be retained. This is misleading; the real value of the trees and the impact on the bats needs to be reassessed. The previous bat survey stated “A lighting plan will need to be devised for the scheme to ensure that existing and new habitat resources including potential roosting opportunities in trees are not negatively affected by artiﬁcial lighting”. No lighting plan has been put forward by BDWH. The report also stated: “It is recommended that where the road passes through the woodland in the north west, minimal tree removal or thinning is undertaken and if existing mature tree stock does not in part bridge any of the resulting gap at the canopy level, then new tree planting should be undertaken to promote a future interconnecting tree canopy to limit the effects of the woodland severance” The new report mentions a “dark corridor” but nothing about minimal tree removal or thinning as mentioned on previous reports.
Trees on other parts of the site are also valuable in their own right and for the amenity they will provide for future residents and to soften this dense development.
It would appear from their plans and drawings that BDWH are currently proposing to fell TPO-protected and other trees just to get more houses onto the site; this is wholly unacceptable; BDWH should be required to build a safe distance around all trees, especially those protected by TPOs.
For example there is double line of trees extending north from the end of the Adel Willows boundary wall behind proposed plots 30 to 36. The eastern of the two lines in particular contains trees which are of a quality worthy of preservation but which are proposed to be removed to make way for plots 30 to 36 and plots 6 and 7. This must not be allowed; Plots 30-36 should be moved further east along with the road in front of them and the whole loop to the north east should be made narrower (see below). The trees between plots 6 and 7 should be retained and that part of the site re-aligned.
It is disconcerting to note that the most recent appraisal of trees (5 November) shows fewer trees of the highest grade than the appraisal carried out by the developer at the outline planning application stage. Having regard to other conduct of the developer elsewhere in this application, it would not be too cynical to suggest that the most recent appraisal has been written with a view to enabling the developer more easily to fell those trees which are in the way of proposed houses.
BDWH should be required to include in their planning documentation a plan of the site showing the location of all trees and which of those trees they propose to fell, along with their justification for so doing. There should then be a site inspection by Leeds City Council tree experts to form an independent opinion.
In their landscape appraisal document on which outline consent was based, BDWH undertook to plant deep screening belts to the north and east of the site and to retain the belt to the south adjacent to Centurion Fields.
“6.3 A woodland buffer is proposed along the northern boundary to screen views of the site form the north and to create a strong boundary with the Green Belt. The historic hedges within the eastern fields and along the eastern boundary with Church Lane are retained and strengthened with gaps planted up. The historic remnants of stone walls along the eastern boundary are retained and restored to a height of approx. 1.0m. New hedges and woodland is proposed in the eastern fields to follow the historic grain of the landscape and screen/filter views of the development form the east. New woodland planting along the southern boundary is retained. Existing planting along the western boundary is retained and enhanced with additional planting to screen and filter views from the west. This accords with Policies G4 Greenspace Provision and G9 Biodiversity Improvements, N24 Development next to the Green Belt, N25 Development at site Boundaries and N37A Development in the Countryside. “
“6.4 The proposals include the strengthening and enhancement of existing historic field boundaries and other historic features within the site. This accords with Policy N18-22 which seek to ‘preserve or enhance the appearance of’ Conservation Areas and P11 which aims to prevent adverse impact on the historic environment.”
“6.6 The newly planted strip of woodland along the southern boundary with the new housing on Rowan Avenue and Oak View will be retained to preserve the visual amenity of adjacent dwellings. This accords with Policy BD5 Amenity”
BDWH should be made to adhere to these commitments. The northern boundary abuts a Special Landscape Area which requires protection from the visual pollution of BDWH houses, as do the grade 1 listed Norman church and the conservation area to the east.
As stated above, a substantial tree screening belt (of at least 10 metres) is essential on the Northern edge of the site. If necessary, plots 2-13 should be moved south.
As recommended by Historic England, tree belts east of the beck screening the proposed development from the churchyard are also essential. ANF is disturbed to note that the current plans show far less extensive planting than shown on the plans submitted in the outline planning application. Given the likely monolithic bulk of a two-storey school building, an area of woodland should be planted between the school site and the church.
Given BDWH’s poor record in relation to screening belts and landscaping locally (they only planted the agreed screening belt north of Centurion Fields under pressure of enforcement action) no construction on the site should be allowed to commence until screening belts as above of decent-sized trees have been planted.
The outline consent includes the reservation of land for a primary school. We understand that Education Leeds policies require any such school to be two form entry. This means that the school will have about 400 pupils and perhaps 50 staff. The land reserved for the school buildings has very little space for parking. It is well established that schools in North Leeds generate a huge amount of traffic. Much of the traffic for this school will attempt to park on the estate roads on this site. The proposed roads are simply not wide enough for this purpose and need to be made much wider and/ or to be provided with a substantial number of parking bays to meet the demands of school traffic whilst maintaining the ability of residents and the emergency services to use the roads easily and safely.
The school will almost certainly be built after BDWH have built and sold their houses. BDWH appear to have given no thought to the impact of school traffic. BDWH must not be allowed to leave a legacy of traffic chaos caused by the construction of inadequate estate roads. The proposed development will fail to achieve a green standard for parking contrary to what is asserted at Design and Access Statement 6.0.
ANF is also concerned that school traffic has the potential to cause dangerous conditions on Centurion Fields, Church Lane, the Kingsleys and the Gainsboroughs; as a result, the site should be designed to accommodate the likely level of school traffic.
ANF endorses the proposal that no traffic other than emergency services should be allowed to enter the site via Centurion Fields. But this must be the position from the outset. No traffic (and especially no construction traffic) to the site should be allowed via Centurion Fields at any time. No good reason has ever been provided for vehicles from a number of the proposed houses to be allowed to enter and leave via Centurion Fields for a limited period.
The exceptional landscape and heritage factors mentioned above should mean that a density lower than a suburban norm would apply to this site. BDWH are trying to cram far too much onto the site, even going beyond suburban norms.
Units 26-29 and 35 &36 should be deleted. They are ridiculously cramped- essentially shoe-horned into what should be the gardens of the surrounding houses. They are overcrowded in themselves and detract from the houses which surround them, both in terms of overlooking and outdoor space. This would enable the north east loop to be narrowed allowing plots 30 to 36( see above) to be moved east to save trees and also for pavements and parking bays to be provided to the east of the loop as required by the Highways team -whilst allowing space for plots 94 to 99 to be set back adequately from the road to the east so that it does not have to be built up higher than the current level of the land adjoining the beck.
The proposed house at the entrance to the site (plot 1) should also be removed. It is inappropriate for numerous reasons:
- it is in what should be a Biodiversity Area ;
- it will be isolated from neighbours;
- it will be subject to unacceptable levels of noise and air pollution from Otley Road which will only get worse in future, presenting a miserable quality of life for the future occupants. The noise assessment provided by the developer proves this. Will the house be constructed with windows which can’t be opened? And unsightly noise screening fencing at the expense of hedging and other vegetation in this sensitive location would not be acceptable. Planning officers made a serious mistake in allowing a house this close to Otley Road in the Centurion Fields development and should not repeat that mistake here;
- the house will be an eyesore on the approach to Adel on Otley Road from the north. We must retain the current green approach to a village which Adel residents wish to remain green.
The inclusion of some smaller open-market housing for down-sizing might also free up some space. Moreover, the inclusion of some bungalows need not require greater density. BDWH need only look at the housing at Eddison Walk in Adel to see how reasonably dense single storey development with private outdoor space can be achieved.
Many of the gardens of large family houses are manifestly too small. If there is insufficient land to provide adequate gardens for houses of this size, they should be replaced by smaller houses, which would have the added benefit of providing a better housing mix.
The moving west of the pumping station, the inclusion of proper screening belts to all sides, the protection of trees and the construction of wider estate roads all mentioned above will also impact on density, but should not prevent BDWH building 85 appropriately-sized houses as envisaged in the draft site allocation plan.
There is a lack of clarity as to what green space is to be provided within this development. Apparently there will be none amongst the houses themselves. That might possibly be acceptable providing adequate land is dedicated for green space/recreation to the east of the beck. Given that the land east of the beck cannot be built on, BDWH can afford to be generous with the provision of green space. The green space must be clearly identified and transferred into the ownership of a resident-owned management company such that there will be no future attempt to develop it.
Statement of Community Involvement
The document lodged by BDWH shows what scant regard BDWH has for consulting the Adel community about this development. It was the same document filed for the 2016 outline application. Again it did not include the appendix referred to, which was the document supposedly circulated in the “community”. For the record, that document was only circulated to about 10% of Adel households even though a development affecting the church and conservation area impacts on all Adel residents. It was not even delivered to the neighbouring houses on Centurion Fields. The document itself had no element of consultation. It simply stated that this was what BDWH were going to build, that a planning application would be submitted in the next couple of weeks and that any questions about it should be sent to BDWH.
BDWH had to be persuaded by our local councillors to hold a consultation event on the current proposals. BDWH did display its current proposals at Adel Stables on 5 June and the event was well attended. BDWH did make forms available for comment and many comments were made. However, BDWH has not acted on any of them and this leads us to believe that they were only going through the motions in holding this event.
Adel Neighbourhood Forum reluctantly accepts that some housing development will take place on this site but are bitterly disappointed that BDWH have shown no evidence of being willing to listen to the local community or indeed some of the statutory consultees. As a result, the development as proposed will be severely damaging to the local area as explained above and is entirely contrary to national and local policies.
The view of the developers appears to be that Leeds City Council will not wish to face a legal challenge if it opposes BDWH proposals. Despite platitudes in consultation BDWH are continuing to show a determination to build a mundane standard of design similar to that in other BDWH developments across the UK and are replicating the adjoining Centurion Fields development which they themselves acknowledge has not been a design success.
We have consistently asked for CGI interpretation of how their proposed development will fit in the landscape. Their failure to do so suggests an arrogance that the impact on the local community is irrelevant. The design of the proposed development shows a determination just to cram as many maximum- profit houses as possible into the site with no care about the damage to the historic and rural context.
Adel Neighbourhood Forum believes that these issues need to be rigorously challenged by the Council before consideration by plans panel, and that crucial missing information be provided so that appropriately informed decisions can be taken.
Adel Neighbourhood Forum
Revised Landscape Character Assessment
– Landscape Analysis Plan
See below for Changes to the Assessment. At the bottom of the Contents Page, see Figure 3 Landscape Analysis Plan
Download your copy of the Adel Neighbourhood Landscape Character Assessment here
Please see attached PDF which sets out our proposed policies on Green Space. Have we missed any places? Have you any additional comments on any of the proposals you would like the Forum to consider?
Consultation on the Adel Neighbourhood Plan
To finalise the Adel Neighbourhood Plan, on land development and related issues, information was sought using the website, articles in local, hard copy magazines and a series of consultation events in the Autumn of 2016. These were important meetings to seek residents views on land development in Adel for the next 20 years.
The “drop in” sessions were held at the venues below;
6th October at the Old Stables, Adel Parish Church, LS16 8DW
8th October at Adel St John, Primary School LS16 8EX
11th October at the Adel War Memorial Hall LS16 8DE
In addition copies of the draft plan were held in the Holt Park Library, Ralph Thoresby School.
The formal consultation period has now ended for the Neighbourhood Plan. If you’d like to read a copy of the pre-submission Plan it can be downloaded here:
Information and comments received on this pre-submission Plan, including those received from Leeds City Council, are now being reviewed. Appropriate and relevant comments will be incorporated into the final document.
The Forum will then seek advice from Leeds City Council before submitting it to an independent Inspector who will scrutinise the document to ensure it is legally compliant. Once agreed by the independent inspector it will go to a referendum of Adel residents. We need 50% of those who vote in the referendum to approve the plan.
What is a Neighbourhood Plan?
The Government’s Localism Act of 2011 empowered communities like the Adel Neighbourhood Forum to be able to shape their future through Neighbourhood Plans, which will become enshrined in the Local Council’s (Leeds’s) Development Plan for the next 20 years. The Neighbourhood Plan will be informed by local opinions on a variety of planning matters, such as the design of new buildings, protection and improvement of green spaces, built heritage assets, community facilities and local shopping.
Where are we in the process?
In 2012 members of the Adel Association established a Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group to guide the establishment of a Neighbourhood Forum and the production of a plan for the Adel area. In 2013 it undertook a series of consultation events and a survey to seek the views of the community and from these a number of focus groups were convened to consider what were the priorities for the Adel area. It is on the basis of the findings of these groups that this current ‘policy intentions document’has been produced. This sets out the proposed policy and land use intentions which the Adel Neighbourhood Forum is minded to include in its final draft plan, to be published for formal consultation in September this year. This current document enables the community to take the opportunity to comment and suggest improvements which can be incorporated in the final draft plan.
Following this current consultation, the final draft plan will be prepared, taking on board comments from the community and a wide range of stakeholders and statutory consultees. It will then be published for an extended formal statutory public consultation. After further modification, the Final Plan will then be submitted to Leeds City Council for further scrutiny and independent examination to ensure it complies with legal obligations. It will finally be put to a community referendum of the people of Adel, and hopefully come into force by the end of 2016.
The Vision & Objectives for Adel
Our Vision for the neighbourhood is to build on our ancient history and ensure that future developments help define, protect and enhance Adel as a modern settlement in its own right known for its landscape, green spaces and gardens together with the character of its buildings.
The quality of our amenities, facilities and education provision will also be major priorities which will help to strengthen our sense of community. Excellent accessibility to the city and airport will be increasingly important for economic and social benefits.
Objectives for the Forum
• to integrate new housing into Adel in a manner that underpins the sustainable future of the neighbourhood.
• to improve the diversity of housing developments, with a range of different house types, and a greater range of affordable housing with this clearly being expressed in consultation with the local community.
• to ensure that future housing development contributes to the enhancement of the over-riding character of Adel stemming from its history, its landscape setting, and the distinctive character of its housing.
• to ensure the design quality of houses, and other building types, must be of the highest order for Adel to continue to be renowned for the quality of its built environment.
• to ensure that new developments are to be designed to the highest quality and to the highest environmental standards.
• to reduce the impact of congestion and improve road safety within Adel through the introduction of a traffic management plan.
• to improve existing pedestrian and cycle routes within Adel and develop connectivity with pedestrian and cycle routes beyond Adel.
• to improve the quality and use of parking spaces to retail premises along A660.
• to ensure that there is sufficient capacity within primary school provision for Adel, and to allow families within Adel to access their choice of primary school provision.
• to preserve and enhance the key heritage assets of Adel.
• to protect and, where possible, enhance the identity of Adel with local green space designated and a green infrastructure created.
• to ensure that existing links that cross the community are protected and improved where possible, and a new network of green links between the open areas in and around Adel are created.
• to ensure that Adel has a recognised community centre or centres that can provide for a range of community provision extending and enhancing what is currently provided
• to ensure that Adel has a children’s play area that is valued and accessible for the wider community.
• to ensure that new developments must have adequate provision for play, recreation and communal outdoor activities within the development area.
• to ensure that community facilities in Adel meet the needs of the whole community i.e. all age groups.
• to optimise the use of existing facilities and amenities throughout the day and evening.
• to support and develop a thriving shops and services sector of physical businesses, with particular emphasis on those that are in keeping with the character of Adel, that offer relevant and appropriate services
• to consider the improvement of public transport links to the city and key facilities such as rail links and Leeds/Bradford Airport
Policy and Land Use Intentions
The Neighbourhood Plan, once ‘made’ (ie adopted) will be a statutory planning document with the same status as the Leeds Local Plan. As such, planning applications will be judged by reference to it. It is therefore essential that the final plan is written in the form of legally enforceable planning policies and proposals.
For the purposes of this ‘policy intentions document’ however, and for ease of understanding, it is the policy and proposal intentions which are set out, together with some background and justification. Final policy wordings, together with full evidence and detail will be presented in the final draft plan.
The policy and land use intentions are presented in six sections below, respectively covering:-
Natural and Built Heritage
Character and Design
Community Facilities, Green Space and Schools
Retail and Business
Highways and Traffic
NATURAL AND BUILT HERITAGE
Adel is located within a rich historic landscape. It’s proximity to open countryside with accessible green open spaces is one of the characteristics which define it. This is something which the community is anxious to preserve, a fact consistently expressed in consultation throughout the last 10 years.
The importance of this landscape has been recognised by Leeds City Council (LCC) with much of it designated as ‘Special Landscape Area’ as a result of which it’s character and appearance both enjoy protection against unsympathetic development. It is also designated as Green Belt and Green Infrastructure in the Council’s Core Strategy.
A new landscape appraisal, commissioned by the Neighbourhood Forum, has provided up-to-date and more detailed information on the localised character of this landscape, on the basis of which more nuanced Neighbourhood Plan (NP) policies for its protection and improvement can be developed.
Within this encompassing landscape, and indeed within the built-up area of Adel, there is much of intrinsic nature conservation value – both individual sites and habitat features such as woodland. The NP will identify these, protect their wildlife value and seek appropriate enhancement and extension.
Adel’s natural heritage is complemented by its historic built legacy which the community remains equally committed to preserving.
Much of the central core of Adel already enjoys Conservation Area status via the designation of the Adel – St John’s Conservation Area in 2009. This affords it statutory protection against adverse development. This designation currently excludes the land opposite the Parish Church of St John the Baptist, Adel, an area felt, with good evidential justification, to be worthy of similar protection. A Conservation Area extension to cover this area will be pursued by the Forum under the NP umbrella, but in the meantime the NP will put in place a ‘Local Heritage Area’ policy to provide at least interim protection.
Adel is also rich in terms of its individual heritage buildings and structures, 11 of which (eg the Parish Hall (‘The Stables’) and Stairfoot Bridge) have been listed by Historic England and are as such already protected.
Other ‘positive’ or ‘character’ buildings/structures however, such as St Helens Cottage St Helens Lane and the Milestone at Junction of St Helens Lane / Otley Road remain relatively unprotected against unsympathetic development. The NP will introduce policy in order to protect what makes them important and to encourage appropriate enhancement.
The Grade II Listed Adel Reformatory and Chapel presents an exciting opportunity for heritage-driven redevelopment in order to bring it back into beneficial use. NP policy will provide a concept statement cum outline brief setting out suitable uses acceptable to the community and parameters for successful site development and layout.
POLICY NBH1: Adel Special Landscape Area
Policy will identify and protect the character and appearance of the designated area against adverse development and ensure that the siting, design and materials of any development are sympathetic to its setting and that site landscaping is included.
POLICY NBH2: Extension of Tree Cover
Policy will welcome and encourage development which provides for new tree planting in order to complement and extend Adel’s wooded environment with appropriate tree management plans.
POLICY NBH3: Protection and Enhancement of Nature Conservation Assets
Policy will protect the wildlife value of identified nature conservation assets against adverse development and encourage appropriate enhancement.
POLICY NBH4: Local Heritage Area – Proposed Conservation Area Extension.
Policy will designate and define the area opposite the Parish Church of St John the Baptist, Adel as a Local Heritage Area and require the design of all development within it to respect its documented characteristics in line with clear layout and design criteria to this effect.
POLICY NBH5: Local Built Heritage Assets
Policy will protect, and support the sympathetic enhancement of, designated Local Built Heritage Assets.
POLICY NBH6: Concept Statement/Brief – Adel Reformatory and Chapel
Policy will set out acceptable uses for the site and buildings, together with requirements for its successful layout, design and development.
CHARACTER AND DESIGN
Adel stands as one of the first garden suburbs created as part of the ‘Garden Towns’ movement. Its key characteristic is, in fact, that it displays a variety of different, distinctive characters across its area. It has enjoyed a range of housing styles throughout its history, mostly of high quality and respecting of its semi-rural, green nature, resulting in generally low density housing and relatively large gardens. These elements join all its styles together. The importance of ‘character’, ‘gardens’ and ‘environment’ have been well to the fore in Neighbourhood Forum consultations to date.
This disparate yet united character is well documented in the recently updated Adel Neighbourhood Design Statement, which in turn draws in part on the Adel – St John’s Conservation Area Appraisal. The Statement sub-divides Adel by 15 Character Areas and details the key distinguishing features of each. On this basis, the NP will set out a detailed policy or policies stipulating the requirements that future development must meet, in each area, in order to fit in with existing character traits and to proceed.
POLICY CD1: Character and Design
Policy will ensure that development preserves and enhances the character of Adel by setting out clear requirements in respect of:-
• Height, scale, spacing, layout, orientation, design and materials
• Built heritage assets
• Nature conservation assets, trees and biodiversity
• Views and vistas
• Boundary treatments
Housing, and the key issue of inappropriate new housing developments not meeting local needs, is probably the ‘number one’ concern of local people as expressed across a succession of public consultation events.
The level and specified location of future housing development in Adel up to 2030 will be determined in line with the LCC Local Plan via a combination of the adopted Core Strategy and the Site Allocations Plan (SAP), due for draft consultation in autumn of this year. This latter will identify and allocate Adel’s new housing sites, which the NP must then take on board. The Neighbourhood Forum is still active in consulting with Leeds City Council regarding the development of these sites.
The phased release of allocated housing sites is guided by Core Strategy Policy H1 (Managed Release of Sites). Its implication for Adel is that sites with “the best public transport accessibility” and “best accessibility to local services” are likely to be phased for earliest release in the Site Allocations Plan.
The expressed desire of the Neighbourhood Forum is to control phasing such that there is both a steady release over time and the prioritisation of brownfield over greenfield release. NP policy will seek to reflect this aspiration, subject to the constraints placed upon it by Leeds’s higher level strategic planning policy, ie H1.Site reference 2130 Land off Church lane opposite the Parish Church of St John the Baptist, Adel is proposed as an allocated housing site to be consulted on in the LCC SAP in the autumn. The potential development of this site was previously examined by a Government Inspector as part of the Unitary Development Plan inquiry of 1999. It concluded ‘the preservation of its setting is of unchallenged importance’. This position has more recently been restated by Historic England. Any future development of this site should take account of the need to retain this part of the site as open land, even if it is open land associated with the new use of the land to the west of the stream. As a result, clear parameters for any future development have been set out, in terms of protecting the setting of the Grade I Listed Parish Church of St John the Baptist, Adel. NP policy will reflect these parameters and set out the context for any future development within the plan period.
Site Ref 1178A Land to the south of Dunstarn Lane is proposed as an allocated housing site to be consulted on in the LCC SAP in the autumn. This site, located in greenbelt, is south of the main residential area of Adel, sloping towards the ring road. Development of the site is considered by Leeds City Council to “round off” the existing built up area. Access would need to be through adjacent Site Ref 687 which is housing allocation on the existing UDP, without planning permission. The impact of any development of this site on neighbouring properties needs to be addressed.
As part of this process alternative sites will be considered if they can be shown to be preferential in terms of reduced impact on the character, setting and infrastructure of the Adel community.
The allocation, by Leeds, of particular sites for future housing development cannot of course preclude developer applications on alternative and/or additional sites within Adel. In the first instance, the response to such applications is governed by Core Strategy Policy H2 (New Housing Development on Non Allocated Sites). This states that infrastructure capacity (transport, education, health), accessibility standards, intrinsic amenity, recreation or nature conservation value and visual/historic/spatial character are all key factors in determining acceptability. At a local level, the Forum is keen that any such response should be subject to Adel-specific sustainability tests. As such, it will look at the possibility of framing a NP policy embodying such tests, again subject to the higher level policy context.
The type and range of new housing available is very much a related concern for local people. In the October 2013 questionnaire survey almost half of the respondents highlighted a perceived need for both family houses and bungalows. Additionally, 28% said that their housing circumstances were likely to change in the next 5 years, half of which expressed a desire to remain in Adel. In support of this, a local Housing Needs assessment carried out by Re’new has identified the need to provide more smaller 2 and 3 bedroomed properties appropriate both for older people wishing to downsize and younger people wanting to remain or move into the area. NP policy will provide for this requirement.
POLICY H1: Phased Release of Allocated Housing Sites
Policy may set out phasing requirements relative to distribution of release over time and brownfield/greenfield status.
POLICY H2: Concept Statement/Brief – Church Lane
Policy will set out requirements for the successful layout, design and development of this site, relative in particular to the setting of the Grade I Listed Parish Church of St John the Baptist, Adel.
POLICY H3: Concept Statement/Brief- Land to the South of Dunstarn Lane
Policy will set out requirements for the successful layout, design and development of this site, relative to its location on the edge of settlement and in bordering green belt.
Policy H4 : Housing Development on non allocated sites – Local Criteria
Policy may set out local sustainability tests for determining the acceptability of housing development on non allocated sites.
POLICY H5: Housing type and mix
Policy will require that the types of houses built satisfy the needs of the local community in respect of smaller properties suitable for younger people and older people seeking to downsize.
COMMUNITY FACILITIES, SCHOOLS AND GREEN SPACE
Even though a variety of community services are delivered in Adel from a number of different locations, the absence of a dedicated community centre for the area is a longstanding and oft-repeated community concern. The Forum’s commitment is, in the first instance, to safeguard existing provision and to work with existing providers in order to address the deficiency, but it remains open to the possibility of developing a totally new community resource. NP policy will reflect this position.
Schools and Organisations – Local education and the high quality of Adel’s primary schools are both of enduring importance for the community, but over-subscription and difficulties in securing local school places for local children are concerns. The risk is that this will be exacerbated by additional housing development in the area. Without sustainable planning Adel may not be a walkable community for many children and families.
The forum is eager to see the issue addressed and NP policy will be positive and flexible in welcoming potential development-based options.
‘Open space’, ‘green space’ and their safeguarding are both of primary importance to the Adel community, a fact confirmed throughout NP consultations in 2013. The Core Strategy prioritises green space protection (Policy G4) and the SAP will carry this through and apply it to a number of specified sites. The NP however, as empowered by the ‘Local Green Space’ (LGS) provisions of the Government’s National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), has the opportunity to both complement and extend this protection via a policy identifying and designating LGS sites and encouraging their appropriate enhancement.
Despite the wealth of community green space across Adel, there have, since the 2006 Neighbourhood Design Statement, been repeated calls for a safe, gated play area for younger children to be provided, for e.g. at the Bedquilts Recreation Ground or adjoining Adel St John’s Primary School or at some other suitable location. LCC readily accept that this is a pressing concern and local elected members are active in exploring options and seeking solutions. NP policy will as a minimum be permissive of development which would deliver the required play area and may look to specifically identify and allocate a suitable site if one can be found.
New planned housing development will in turn generate the need for additional green space provision in accordance with Core Strategy Policy G4 (New Green Space Provision). Within this context, the NP has the opportunity to specifically address any green space deficiencies within Adel identified in the LCC Open Space, Sport and Recreation Assessment of 2011, or elsewhere. Further work will be done to confirm if there are any such deficiencies and the NP may seek to put forward land use allocations and/or policy solutions. The lack of and desire for allotments has already been raised in some quarters.
Adel is a walkable and cyclable community. It is seen as important that existing walking and cycling routes that cross the community and link it to surrounding countryside and green spaces are protected and that improvements and extensions to this ‘local green infrastructure network’ are implemented. Core Strategy Policy G1 provides generally for this. NP policy will develop this further, relative to an indicative Adel Local Green Infrastructure Network map, to include the following desired routes:-
• Adel to Paul’s Pond and Golden Acre
• Circular routes within Bedquilts
• Internal Adel Woods routes
• Corpse Way and Beech Walk
POLICY CFGS1: Protection and Provision of Community Centres
Policy will resist the loss of specified community services and facilities to be listed in the final plan and will welcome and encourage development which provides for the improvement or provision of new community services and facilities, including via the development of a new community centre.
POLICY CFGS2: New or Extended Primary School Provision
Policy will support the extension of existing schools or development of a new school, including the loss of an existing school if replaced by a more sustainably located alternative within the Neighbourhood Area.
POLICY CFGS3: Protection and Enhancement of Local Green Space
Policy will protect designated Local Green Spaces from development and change of use which would adversely affect their value to the local community, while welcoming and encouraging their appropriate enhancement.
POLICY CFGS4: New Children’s Play area
Policy will welcome and encourage development which would bring about the provision of a new children’s play area, and may allocate a suitable site for such a play area.
POLICY CFGS5: Addressing Green Space Deficiencies
Policy may identify local green space deficiencies by type/area of Adel and require development-led provision in order to address them. Policy may also allocate a suitable site or sites for the remedying of any such deficiencies.
POLICY CFGS6: Adel Local Green Infrastructure Network
Policy will require the protection, improvement and extension of an identified network of green infrastructure links within Adel.
RETAIL AND BUSINESS
Access to local shops was one of the attributes that local people highlighted about Adel, providing great support to the community and convenient facilities without the costs of time and travel. The view that Adel has enough good quality and variety of local shops and services was held by 45% of respondents to the October 2013 questionnaire survey. By implication however, that left 55% either neutral or in disagreement with this view, amplified by observations regarding “the loss of greengrocers and bakers and an increase in takeaways” and concerns about “the change of use of local shops”. Residents at the April 2013 Forum Open Day also recorded “no more fast food outlets”.
The Leeds Core strategy considers Adel ‘shopping centre’ to be a ‘Neighbourhood Shopping Parade”, covered by Policy P4. This policy already works to protect Adel’s existing retail provision against change of use (including to restaurants, cafes and take away fast food shops), to support appropriate improvements in provision and to encourage new stand alone/small scale food stores where such provision would not impact adversely on the existing ‘parade’. The Forum nonetheless feels that such is the strength of local opinion on this that Neighbourhood Plan policy will set more detailed Adel specific criteria regarding change of use to nonretail uses particularly takeaway fast food shops. The community has, however, specifically indicated its support for a new stand alone/small food store (or stores) which could ease congestion/parking problems around the main ‘west of Otley Road’ parade and the existing Co-op store.
The community has also signalled the need for an ‘upmarket real ale pub or café bar’ as a high priority and indicated its support for such provision in an appropriate location. NP policy will reflect this wish and may identify a suitable potential site or sites if such can be found.
NP research indicates some 258 businesses in Adel, plus significant homeworking (a fifth of respondents to the October 2013 survey indicated frequent or occasional homeworking with the likelihood of this increasing).
There is only one site in Adel designated for Employment use. It is on the Bodington Business Park, on the eastern side of Otley Road LS16 site reference 2602760. It has been given a “Go ahead” green coding for Office use with 24375 sq meters. This proposal is supported and consideration would be given to other employment uses subject to our overall policies. The NP is supportive of this allocation and is minded also to support other new and appropriate employment uses in suitable locations.
Core Strategy policy (Spatial Policy 8, EC1 and EC3) would broadly support both the safeguarding of existing employment uses in Adel and the protection of new, relative to Adel’s non-priority location for such provision and its good road accessibility.
The Forum’s Business Focus Group is keen to support Adel’s sizable business community in whatever ways it can and has identified the particular possibility of developing a ‘business centre’ offering business services such as meeting space, virtual office facilities and café at a suitable location. The Forum proposes to support this aspiration through NP policy and may identify a suitable potential site or sites if such can be found.
POLICY RB1: Adel Shopping Centre. Change of use to non-retail uses
Policy will set detailed criteria to govern change of use from retail to non retail uses
POLICY RB2: New Pub or Café Bar
Policy will welcome and encourage the development of a new pub or café/bar and may identify a suitable site or sites for such a development
POLICY RB3: Adel Business Centre
Policy will welcome and encourage the development of an ‘Adel Business Centre’ and may identify a suitable site or sites for such a development
HIGHWAYS AND TRAFFIC
Traffic was consistently highlighted as an issue in local consultations in 2013. 84% of respondents in October 2013 said there is too much traffic going through Adel, with a similar number concerned regarding road safety. Good bus and road links are frequently cited as ‘good things’ about Adel in terms of access to the city. The impact of any proposed development with regard to the airport needs to be considered in terms of its impact on Adel and consideration given to improved public transport links.
Key concerns revolve around peak/school times traffic congestion – on both primary and minor routes. In response, the NP will seek to put in place a policy designed to ensure consideration of traffic impacts and measures to mitigate such impacts as part of any significant development schemes affecting the A660, Adel Lane/Church Lane and Sir George Martin Drive.
The retail frontages on the west side of Otley Road attract both local and passing shoppers. The lack of suitable parking spaces to service these units is a concern identified through community consultation. NP policy will endeavour both to regularise and secure existing parking provision and to encourage additional spaces.
There is strong community support for increased cycle access around Adel as an integral part of overall highways and transport considerations and for better pedestrian connections to local schools, amenities and green spaces. The NP will put in place a policy designed to deliver improvements linked to future new development.
POLICY HT1: Traffic Congestion
Policy may require assessment of the traffic impacts of significant new development and measures to address any identified impacts as part of that development
POLICY HT2: Retail Car Parking – Otley Road
Policy may protect existing parking areas and encourage/welcome development which provides for further spaces.
POLICY HT3: Improved Cycling and Pedestrian Connections
Policy will encourage/welcome new development which contributes to the improvement of cycling and pedestrian connections in Adel.
NON-PLANNING POLICIES AND ACTIONS
Initial consultations on the Neighbourhood Plan also served to highlight a variety of non-planning issues, concerns and ideas. These ranged from a nature trail, public transport improvements and an extension to the Conservation Area, to addressing speeding, facilities for young people, a trim trail, a Business Association and a farmers market. While much of this falls outside the ambit of a statutory Neighbourhood Development Plan, the Neighbourhood Forum will nonetheless look to include actions to address such issues within the plan’s non-planning sections and to seek funding for such actions, as appropriate, via the new Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) and other sources.
Community Infrastructure Levy
The CIL is a new charge on development that the local planning authority (Leeds) will use to raise funds from developers who undertake building projects in their area. The funds raised will go to improving local infrastructure. With a Neighbourhood Plan in place, the spending of 25% of all CIL receipts raised from development within the Neighbourhood Area will be subject to agreement between Leeds City Council and the local community. Based on consultation responses to date, the Neighbourhood Forum has considered various areas where this money could be used to benefit Adel. Further feedback from the community is sought on these initial ideas.
Possible Priorities for CIL
Ideas put forward for spending any developer contributions that could accrue to Adel are as follows. They are not in any order of preference:
• Tree planting
• Nature trail
• Public transport improvements e.g east of Adel to Holt Park, Horsforth and Leeds/Bradford Airport
• Regulated pedestrian crossing on Church Lane and Otley Road
• Improvements to key footpaths and access points within Adel
• Children’s play area
• Trim trail
• More diverse leisure/recreation activities
• Young people facilities/activities
• Tidy up retail frontages
• Adel Business Centre
• Secure bicycle parking at shops/ Bedquilts changing rooms /local parks
• Creation and improvement of footpaths and cycleways from Adel to Golden Acre Park and Pauls Pond
Responses to the Policy Intentions Document June 2015
The Policy Intentions document outlining our proposed objectives and policies was distributed to every household in the Adel Neighbourhood Forum area in July 2015. In summary, the results of 180 returned questionnaires were that the vast majority were overwhelmingly, wholly or mainly, in agreement with the objectives and policies. Some of the main results are listed below.
Plan Vision and Objectives
Several respondents praised the document generally. From respondents who agreed with the plan there were comments requesting greater regard for elderly and disabled residents and also for housing for younger people.
Some 32 respondents disagreed with concept statement on “Land off Church Lane”, being opposed to any development of the fields opposite Adel Parish Church. It should be noted that a large number of respondents who agreed with the policy also expressed their objection to development opposite The Parish Church of St John the Baptist, Adel.
Nine respondents objected to Concept Statement on “Land to South of Dunstarn Lane” stating that the land was green belt and should not be built on.
Highways and Traffic Policies
All respondents, except two, agreed with the policies wholly or partly. Seven respondents disagreed with “Traffic Congestion”, mainly because they wished it to be expressed more strongly: proper traffic assessments must be required before any development and taken at peak times, not during school holidays.
The Policies, as amended by the consultation, will form the basis of the ADEL NEIGHBOURHOOD FORUM PLAN and will be subject to a Referendum and like the event in Scotland a 50% plus majority of those voting will be required for the Plan to be accepted.
Once accepted it will form part of the Leeds City Council formal planning system. These are important times and we welcome any comments from residents, businesses and those with an interest in Adel.
The consultation period has ended for the draft Neighbourhood Plan. If you’d like to read a copy it can be downloaded here: