MEETING AT BARDSEY VILLAGE HALL ON MON 13TH NOV AT 7.30PM…
UPDATE ON THE THREAT TO THE GREEN BELT AND WHY DEMOCRACY IS FAILING US
Bramham Estate are trying to develop the greenbelt field on the A58 by claiming VERY SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES.
They are REFUSING TO DISCLOSE THE FULL FINANCIAL FACTS
Leeds City Council is POWERLESS TO PREVENT THIS
Leeds City Council is IGNORING OUR EXPERT FLOOD RISK EVIDENCE
A decision on the Application is scheduled to be made on DEC 21ST
We have asked our local councillors to intervene after months of frustration that officials are not responding to our requests for information. On Wednesday 8th November we will be presenting a DEPUTATION IN FRONT OF THE FULL COUNCIL to warn them what the dangers are. On Monday 13th November we will explain how you can ask Leeds City Council to justify why this is happening.
WE URGE THE COUNCIL TO RESPOND TO OUR REQUESTS AND CONCERNS NOW
Funds will need to be raised to support the campaign to defend the Green Belt in our Villages
TAKE SOME ACTION
Please support the Communities of Collingham, East Keswick & Bardsey to protect our homes and environment
TO DONATE OR FOR MORE INFO GO HERE
It is now 8 months since Savills submitted a formal planning application on behalf of Bramham Park Estate to build up to 140 houses on 14 hectares of agricultural land in the green belt, which the Estate owns in the village of Bardsey. A separate company, Sandby(Bardsey) Ltd is promoting and paying for the application and will only receive a fee if the application is successful in obtaining planning permission.
The Bramham Park Estate has previously made representations to the Leeds City Council that building should be allowed on this land without success.
On this occasion, Savills are arguing that there are very special circumstances which allow the Council to permit this development in the green belt.
The very special circumstances claimed are that funds totalling £10.8m are urgently required by the Bramham Park Estate “to fund ongoing conservation and management of their historic estate” and “the sale of land at Bardsey village lying on the fringe of the estate has been selected as the only sustainable solution to do so”.
A separate heritage viability report has been submitted by the applicants “on a strictly private and confidential basis to Leeds City Council to set out the income of the Estate, demonstrating that there is no scope within existing resources to fund the necessary heritage works”. Savills maintain that it is a misconception to assume the Bramham Park Estate is sufficiently wealthy to undertake the necessary works identified.
The Estate have sought to assure the Council that any funds made available from the sale of the land with the benefit of planning permission will be used solely for the conservation and preservation of the heritage assets.
The application was submitted on 1st February 2017 and released to interested parties for consultation with a closing date of 18th March 2017 for comments. Copies of all the comments received in date order can be seen on the Leeds City Council planning website (Ref 17/00655/OT ) The number of documents received is well over six hundred and the very great majority of the comments from the local community object to the proposal.
The Bardsey Action Group (BAG) submitted its initial comments with assistance from planning consultant, Allen Creedy, a partner in the company Ethical Planning LLP on 16th March 2017 followed by supplementary information on 3rd May and 6th June. An informal meeting between the Case Officer, a representative from BAG and the planning consultant took place in May when the Group were assured that the Council is committed to a rigorous analysis of the application and this would take a few more months.
Subsequently a formal objection to the Flood Risk Assessment submitted by the applicant was lodged with the Council in July supported by comprehensive evidence. A site meeting has been requested to discuss the objection in more detail. The Council have replied to say a site visit will be considered when the applicant responds to BAG’s objection.
BAG has analysed the options appraisal submitted by the applicant along with other documents and reports in the public domain relating to the Estate and submitted the analysis as supplementary evidence to the Council. The options appraisal in the application paints a picture of an income insufficient to preserve and maintain the heritage assets within the Estate but on the other hand the public statements made in recent years by the applicant, Mr Lane Fox and his agent, Nick Pritchard paint a quite different positive picture. It is of course extremely difficult to provide a comprehensive analysis of the financial position as ownership of the Estate and its numerous commercial activities is vested in Trusts and different Companies. It probably requires the services of a forensic accountant and the cooperation of the Lane Fox family to achieve anywhere near an accurate analysis. That cooperation will not be forthcoming and the common sense view will prevail that – the owners of an estate comprising 5000 acres of land, 60 cottages, eleven farms and hosts two very successful events, the International Horse Trials and Leeds Festival do have the resources to fund any necessary repairs to their house and garden. Nevertheless the appointment of an independent property specialist to assess the options appraisal is welcome. However it is noted that this report has not been made public and a Freedom of Information request may be necessary to obtain the full report.
In addition BAG has comprehensively reviewed the Heritage Works proposed and the estimated costs. The applicant refers to urgent repairs yet their own architect in his condition report refers to the structure “deteriorating slowly”. The review concludes that the Estate should be anticipating and planning for these works within their long term maintenance strategy, funded by drawing on the multiple and diverse revenue streams that Bramham Estate have at their disposal.
A recent matter of concern is the late submission of evidence from Phil Ward, the Design and Conservation Team Leader, a Council Officer in which he supports the application (25.09.17). His case ignores all the evidence objecting to the application. He maintains there will be a public benefit from the investment of capital towards the maintenance of the heritage assets at Bramham Park which on heritage terms outweighs the harm to the Bardsey Conservation Area. This narrow blinkered view takes no account of the fact that building on the green belt is negated and should only be accepted in very special circumstances. It also fails to challenge the claim that the owners have no other source of funds to undertake the repairs and maintenance of their property. This evidence from a Council Officer has already provoked a strong response from the Parish Council (02.10.17) and others (05.10.17)along with a rebuttal from our planning consultants (04.10.17).
It is disappointing that the Lane Fox family should seek a windfall profit from the sale of land in the green belt which will increase the risk of flooding, and reduce the value of so many of their neighbours properties in Bardsey.
Access to all the documents submitted can be found on the Leeds City Council web site at https://publicaccess.leeds.gov.uk . The reference for this application is 17/00655/OT and all the submissions are posted in date order of receipt. The submissions from the Bardsey Action Group are:
Date 16.03.17 – Summary of Objections.
Date 21.07.17 – Formal Objection to Flood Risk Assessment.
Date 27.07.17 – Objection to Options Appraisal & Work Schedule.
Date 15.08.17 – Suppl. evidence on Flood Risk Assessment.
Date 04.10.17 – Rebuttal of evidence from Conservation Team.
Please Spread the Word…
Last October Bramham Estate revealed its plans to destroy the greenbelt on land north of the old village. Now another landowner wants to make huge profits by developing greenbelt farmland for housing. The site is the land to the west of Wetherby Road, south of Bardsey village between Church Lane and the Waysides.
On behalf of the Cornforth family, consultants White Young Green (WYG) have sent a conceptual plan for the site to Bardsey Parish Council. The plan is shown below.
WYG claim that because of the significant local opposition to the Bramham Estate application, their proposal would be an alternative site for residential development, providing a logical extension to the south of the village. They are seeking a meeting with Bardsey Parish Council’s to discuss the number of houses that could be sensitively accommodated.
As there is no official planning application, Bardsey Parish Council is only able to restrict its comments to its blanket opposition to development on greenbelt land.
However, BAG is able to campaign more actively to protect the village from inappropriate development. When we first started in the 1990s we knew that the threats to the village would never go away, and we would need to be vigilant.
We will continue to work closely with Leeds City Council and Bardsey Parish Council to make it abundantly clear that any proposal to reduce the greenbelt is contrary to the wishes of the local community, is against the policies enshrined in the draft neighbourhood plan and Leeds City Council’s plans for appropriate housing development.
You can view the plans HERE
In May BAG and its planning consultant Allen Creedy met with the Leeds City Council planning officer, Adam Ward, to discuss our objection to the application, and to find out more about what the next steps are.
Adam explained that he and his colleagues are still working on the technical issues that they have raised with the applicants and their consultants, but we can still make further representations on the key areas we have identified – flooding and drainage, the schedule of repair and other works, and the appraisal of the Estate’s alternative financial and commercial options. We asked if it would be possible to meet with the relevant officers, which Adam stated would be their decision.
Allen has advised us to submit our additional objections in a logical planning oriented format which would encourage the officers to look closely into our arguments against the application, and meet with us, and we have agreed that this is the next stage.
We have since learned that the applicants are likely to submit their own further representations on the flood risk assessment, and other planning matters, probably because of comments that the Environment Agency and other consultees have made. Any additional submissions by the applicants will have to be reconsidered by all the relevant authorities. It is clear now that the process is taking much longer than we anticipated, and the meeting of the NE Planning Panel to consider the application may not take place until the autumn.
However as soon as the officers report for that meeting is made public (usually about 3 weeks beforehand) we will know what the officers’ recommendation to the Panel is – accept or reject the application. If the former option, then we will have a major challenge to persuade the Panel to go against the recommendation.
Until this stage is reached we ask all our supporters to hang in there. We will keep you up to date as and when further news comes in. We would like to thank everyone who has supported us this far. This is far from over and we will no doubt be asking for your support again in the coming months.
From: James Watson
Subject: Destruction of habitat
On Linden Close Bardsey Ls17 9ah lies a non accessible piece of land that had until Saturday morning a large variety of trees.
This morning a team of men felled all the trees causing much distress to the residents of surrounding properties.
These trees were home to several bird species such as Wood Peckers, Blue Tits and included bats which used these trees in the summer for roosting. The trees are also used by Red Kites as the surrounding area is their hunting ground.
I have never seen such willful destruction of the environment by what I can only guess are property developers grabbing land before submitting planning permission so no one could object.
I have contacted the Forestry Commission who can see no licence was granted for the felling of these old pine trees.
The property is in Green Belt land and this has really upset local residents.
There was a supposed ecologist on site if that was what he was? Who was a complete joke and stated health and safety was why they were being felled and stated no birds were nesting despite me watching serval blue tits and a woodpecker making nests last week.
Bardsey currently seems to under attack from developers and their tactics are destroying our countryside.
They have completely destroyed such a beautiful habitat and everyone here is gutted.
Ethical Partnership provide the full range of professional, legal and technical support necessary to prepare and submit all kinds of planning applications – whether it a refurbishment, new build, conversion or a ‘change of use’ – we can help with all kinds of ‘development’; retail, leisure, commercial, housing, energy, infrastructure etc.
See the full story here as to how the Ethical Partnership is helping BAG.
Being the very lucky village we are Bardsey is not without specialist help coming forward from all quarters in including drainage, highways, websites, social media and more. What we are lacking at the moment is someone with a strong PR background for the next stage of our campaign to get our message out to a wider audience. If you have PR Experience or know someone able to offer advice, please get in touch. We have funds available should it be required. But we are hoping for a someone in the village able to lend a hand and point our marketing and social media team in the right direction.