Are Houses Going To Be Built On The Park?

Guiseley SHLAA Areas Around Parkinson's Park

Parkinson’s Park was given to the people of Guiseley by Frank and Albert Parkinson.  But, the covenant which used to be on the land deeds (and has been seen in the safe at Crompton Parkinson’s) has been ‘lost’.  The land is now owned by the developers Bellway Homes, who have built Edison Fields, and provided funds to regenerate the Park.  Bellway will keep the Park maintained and work with FOPP, until the future of the Park’s is agreed – which is now the subject of discussion between FOPP, Bellway and facilitated by Councillor Graham Latty.

That being said,  we have now established that Leeds City Council’s Planning Department, have put the Park into their ‘strategic housing land availability assessment’ SHLAA, together with land between Kelcliffe Lane and Moor Lane.  This area of land is owned by several different land owners, none of whom have applied to put the land in the SHLAA.  It is the council’s own assessment that the land is an infill, near amenities, and so may be potential housing land from 2021 onwards.  It is not a feature of the SHLAA that a land owner has to give permission for land to be listed.

Once land is in the SHLAA it cannot be removed – we are told.  It is part of the Leeds Local Development Plan (LDF), whose central aim is growth, and to make Leeds the ‘Best City in the UK’!!.  The SHLAA was started in 2008, but has taken on particular relevance now with the new National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), which is pushing for sustainable development – even if it is on greenbelt.  Although, to be fair, the previous central Government also gave the green light to greenbelt going into SHLAA.

So, what can be done.  Councillor Latty, who has been very supportive in our negotiations with Bellway, has said, “the SHLAA is a list not an allocation; so the more noise we make the better“.  Graham Booth from Menston Action Group, who have fought to try and save Derry Hill has advised “if you snooze you lose”.  So, what noise can we make?

To start with, FOPP will write to the Council, outlining certain facts about the site that are not in the SHLAA  ie, it is a Park and has been such for 70 years;  it is listed with the West Yorkshire Archaeology Department as a potential ancient rabbit warren; it lies near the Kelcliffe Conservation Area; it is not suitable for a connection road to the fields beyond Kelcliffe Lane; it has particular geographic significance as part of the Chevin.  We are also considering whether to register the land with Fields in Trust as a Queen Elizabeth Field, in this Jubilee Year.

After that,  we want to work with the Friends on a vision for what the Park could become, and discuss that with Bellway, so the Park can be protected as much as possible as a community assett.   Under the new localism bill, it is possible to list land as a community asset with a right to bid – that may be an option.  It is also possible to look at registering it as a village green, if we can prove it’s history as such since the 1930’s. (So pictures of past use are very inportant to make the case, if you have any.)  We are also now associated with Wharfedale and Airedale Review Development (WARD) who are looking to form a Neighbouhood Forum in order to allow local people to decide what get’s built and where.

The purpose of forming the Friends was to protect the land as a community asset and build on the Parkinson legacy.  It is now even more important that we all do that.  Please help make a noise !!

About Jennifer Inskip Kirkby

Director and Vice Chair of Friends of Parkinson's Park CIC, Chair of Aireborough Neighbourhood Forum and Facilitator of Inskip One-Name Study. Has a degree in Local History (University of Cambridge), and Economics (University of Leeds). Now retired after a career as a Business Analyst and Advisor.
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2 Responses to Are Houses Going To Be Built On The Park?

  1. I was one of the instigators of the protest which stopped Bristol’s Castle Park being built on in 2006. Lots of interesting stuff came out of it, including the ratio of open space to housing, the presence of wildlife, especially rare varieties, or, failing that, as a wildlife corridor that helped other sites survive. There was also an attempt to get it classified as a village green, which was helped by getting a barrister to do the work for free, but in the end the victory was largely due to the original plans being expensive and not thought through. I even heard of a protest in the states where they tried to kidnap endangered turtles and site them on the disputed land. Nice try! But probably the weakest argument is one of economics. We keep hearing of the shortage of housing, but there are a lot of empty homes. Do your homework. You may do better than you think. Developers often think community groups are stupid and a pushover. Show them you are not, and that you are prepared for a long fight. Just standing your ground may be enough to win. Good luck.

  2. darren shepherd says:

    Sounds like we need you barb !!! Good post.

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