Save Parlington – Deputation to Leeds City Council 11/01/2017

Lord Mayor and Members of Council, thank you for the opportunity to make this address to the chamber.

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My name is Howard Bedford.

I represent the SAVE PARLINGTON ACTION GROUP – members accompanying me today are:

Adrienne Sykes, Karen Baxter and Neil Beaumont;

The Group comprises residents of Aberford, Barwick in Elmet, Potterton, Scholes, Micklefield, Garforth and other settlements.

We object to proposals for house building on the historic Parlington Estate because it will then destroy our villages.

Our Group’s membership is large, growing and active. In just three weeks leading up to the 7th November 2016 deadline over 3,300 objections were submitted in response to the MX2-39 Consultation.

The villages around Parlington have a long and rich history. Evidence of settlements can be traced back to the Iron Age and earlier.

The beauty of the villages and settlements around central Leeds is testament to the success of our city ancestors, the success of today’s residents and the excellent work of successive Council administrations.

The SAVE PARLINGTON ACTION GROUP is not motivated by nostalgia.

We enjoy the natural beauty;

And we want to protect and preserve Parlington for everyone in Leeds.

My Lord Mayor and Members of Council, Leeds residents sense that our countryside is disappearing rapidly, and our lives are poorer.

The amount of countryside that you are targeting for house building is vast and untenable.

Statistics without context can be misleading. Destruction of only small percentages of green belt will cause catastrophic loss. BANG Leeds’s unique environment is gone forever.

My Lord Mayor and Members of Council, our group contends that what matters are people’s experiences of, and engagement with, the countryside – value added or value removed from peoples’ lives. People matter – every day.

An ONS report shows that more than 1300 villages in England and Wales disappeared in the first decade of this century.

And that My Lord Mayor and Members of Council is a shocking statistic!

You must take steps to plan Leeds’s growth better and act to allow building projects to be sustainably undertaken.

Inorganic growth is an outcome of poor planning and panic responses to a growth continuum that hasn’t been dealt with. It is a symptom of bad management by authorities.

My Lord Mayor and Members of Council You are the ones we trust to overcome such problems and create positive solutions which lead to organic growth.

The destruction of the green belt does not have to occur. Building on brownfield land is the only route that you should take and in Leeds there is sufficient brownfield land for 30,000 houses.

Green Belt serves to prioritise brownfield for building – if Parlington is built on, then inner city brownfield sites won’t be recovered and won’t be brought back into life and building on the LUNGS of OUR VILLAGES is to condemn them to a slow painful death.

Adding a giant new housing estate for what the July DPP called “car dependent commuters” does not regenerate, it only destroys Green Belt and will ‘hollow out’ our inner city.

This is our city and 3,300 of us objected to MX2-39.

We want to protect our green belt, our ancient woodland and our children.

Lord Mayor and members of Council, the SAVE PARLINGTON ACTION GROUP is aware that any building on green belt must be made only in “exceptional circumstances” yet there is no guidance on what exceptional circumstances means.

We request a meeting between our GROUP and the Council so that you can:

List and explain specifically what the term “exceptional” circumstances covers;

  1. Identify circumstances which are ‘exceptional’;

Explain why you believe there is any circumstance to warrant taking Parlington’s exceptionally “special landscape” out of the Green Belt and allocating it for house building when PAS and brownfield sites exist throughout the city

Explain what changed between September 2015 when Parlington was sieved out in the Green Belt Review, and March 2016 when it was considered as suitable to be put forward for housing? Was a full Green Belt Review carried out during this time?

  1. Explain why an Expression of Interest was made by you to DCLG Garden Villages Programme on 29th July 2016 when Parlington is not brownfield or public owned land and there has been no community support or engagement, which are all criteria for DCLG’s entry to the programme?

We challenge you to protect Parlington and revert to the use of land aligned with your settlement hierarchy and Core Strategy.

Thank you for your attention and we look forward to you meeting with our delegation.