application 14/05794/RM is due to go to plans panel this coming Thursday. Here are 32 reasons why this development should not go ahead:
1) None of the 185 objectors from the previous application were notified of this application via the council’s ‘public access’ system, even those who had tracked the previous application.
2) The Public Access system does not give notifications of minutes, deferrals or the results of meetings from the previous application which meant it was kept on a need to know basis. These matters are important to keep people up to date, the planning department seem to like to deliberately keep the public they are supposed to be serving in the dark.
3) Public health matters from the Health and Social Care act 2012, and revisions to the NPPF made on 6th March 2014 (a month before the last application were put in were not taken into account in given outline planning permission for this application.
4) There was an alternative plans proposal for the sports halls and playing fields; this was never taken seriously not earnestly debated in regards to this or the previous application. This can be accessed on:
5) The facilities which previously existing on site were demolished whilst the council refused to answer a Freedom of information request about the instructions given by the council which allowed Vincent Fraser QC for formulate legal advice which advocated the previous application on legal terms despite the wealth of other pertinent reasons for its rejection. While the council stalled by not answering this the facilities were destroyed.
6) The legal advice which was general on planning terms and not made on public health grounds which were the most pertinent in deciding to build on a playing field and demolish needed sports facilities in an area which has a designated deprivation due to lack of facilities.
7) The Leeds Girls High School was legally classed by Director of City Development Martin Farrington as ‘part of the community’ as such I am objecting to building on a playing field which has had 101 years of know community access.
8) All applications to build on the field did not and do not taken into account national and city based objectives of making Leeds a better city of people of all ages and in all regions.
9) Leeds City Council do not have a playing field strategy and there is nothing to stop development on inner city playing fields due to allowing development in a suitable location or moving playing fields from the inner city to greenbelt land on the very outskirts, not what this community deserves.
10) The council have the money to purchase the playing field in terms of section 106 contributions and ward based initiative capital.
11) An asset of community value bid was turned down for the playing field without allowing the proper 6 months for the community to fundraise and make people aware of the issue; solely on the fact outline planning permission was likely to be given. This is unfair and undemocratic.
12) On complaining about this issue the council answered complaint emails with letters which were not received.
13) This proposal is devoting against Hyde Park Olympic Legacy’s deputation to council on 12th September 2012.
14) There is an uncordially close relationship between the Planning department and The Grammar School at Leeds. The planning department have paved the way over the last 10 years over both grammar schools getting maximum money for the development of all their sports facilities in LS6 which they have asked for against the wishes of the local community. This has led to squandering section 106 money without public consultation, and decreasing the net area for exercise just to fix existing facilities because they hadn’t been maintained properly.
15) This issue has been twinned with the demolition of a public asset Royal Park School. The plans department and arranged secret meetings on the 27th of janury & 17th February 2014 with councillors to solicit an additional gift of £23,223 for development to make sure the deal went ahead.
16) This money is planned to be spent on the former Royal Park site via Parks & Countryside who have been given the blessing to redevelop the Royal Park site using this and other section 106 money. The Royal Park site should be managed by Hyde Park Source and the local community in order to foster community empowerment and allow section 106 contributions prior to this development to be spent on acquiring the site as a sports facility.
17) Parks & Countryside have consistently underspent on maintenance on all their facilities meaning they have to rely on contributions from section 106 just in order to do basic maintenance. It is likely they will do the same here.
18) The council needlessly demolished Royal Park School to suit the agenda of the developers and the Grammars School so they had somewhere to spend section 106 money from this development. This is in attempt to try to make this development seem less morally reprehensible – so when these houses go up they can be providing something for the public.
19) The council arranged secret meeting involving local councillors and the chair of plans panel to sweeten this deal while the previous application was still a live planning issue. This implies inducement to approve the scheme before it had been decided at plans panel.
20) 5 local primary schools are deficient in spaces for sport. The acquisition would help local schools and give college and university students a place to volunteer and take coaching courses and qualifications.
21) The Victoria Road playing field would have allowed people of all ages to take part in sport health and recreation.
22) The area has a high percentage of BME inhabitants who derive particular benefit from cardiovascular exercise. The set-up of a community sports facility on this location would improve the health and wellbeing of the area.
23) The strategy of having to sacrifice playing fields and sports facilities just to repair and renovate existing spaces is pathetic and will result in the long term detriment in the health, wellbeing and moral of Leeds’ citizens.
24) Having a sports facility or playing field here would increase membership of sports clubs and allow new clubs to form.
25) This planning application and the destruction of the facilities here has come about due to the insecure nature of the legal advice secured from Vincent Fraser QC. The email of the member of planning who requested the advice has been deleted due to her leaving her job and due to the planning department classifying the advice for at least the first 6 weeks so the previous matter would not go to judicial review.
26) Ward councillors were silenced through political blackmail to allow the previous application to go through days prior to it appearing at panel. If they talked about it they would lose their jobs as their party would not allow them to stand for election.
27) We have not accessed the instructions given to the QC to enable them to impartially make the legal advice which has been lorded over plans councillors even though this has been requested under freedom of information. While the council didn’t answer a Freedom of Information request to providet this, they demolished the facilities. This is spiteful and a disrespectful way to treat the public.
28) The planning application broadly goes against the public’s wishes. 1,200+ people objected in 2008 and asked for the sports facilities to be bought be council. Each application since has shown no public support and many objections.
29) When Greg Mulholland suggested the playing field be purchased by writing to council this instruction was not read to council by the planning officer on the December 2013 plans panel.
30) This area is a protected playing field, it is needed by the community, houses and a mini supermarket just small enough so as to not trigger a retail development in the area is not needed. The area has a housing over-supply and many existing shops
31) The QC who gave the legal advice to Leeds City council to pass this development is in the pay of Holbeck land, one of the developers for this proposed site. They seem to be serving their clients well in this case.
32) Matthias Franklin was his own scrutiniser at the previous plans panels for late submissions, he gave verbal updates to panel without raising key points from the sources. I think he is likely to do the same in future. It should be a different planning officer who gives the updates, or preferably someone impartial from the planning department so there can be no collusion or cover up.
Do the right thing at panel on this occasion for the good of the community and for the frighteningly undemocratic way the previous application was conducted.
Former resident of Ash Grove,
Coach of Hyde Park & Woodhouse FC