ADEL ASSOCIATION MEETING WITH DAVID WILSON HOMES AND LEEDS CITY COUNCIL – HELD THURSDAY 21ST NOVEMBER 2013

Minutes of meeting of the Adel Association , held on Thursday 21st November 2013, in The Stables, Back Church Lane

Chairman – Mrs. Paula Brown  

1. Police Update

PCSO Claire Salkeld attended and gave an update. There have been 2 burglaries in Adel in the last few weeks, both attributable to europrofile locks. A garden ornament was stolen from a garden on Back Church Lane, an incident of criminal damage on Otley Road  and theft of lead flashing on Church Lane.

The speed checks have not been carried out in the last month due to staff shortages but it is hoped these will resume shortly.

The chair reminded residents to book an appointment with CASAC to have their Europrofile locks changed to a more secure version.  Double glazing companies are still fitting Europrofile locks as standard despite the security risks.

2. Proposal by David Wilson Homes (DWH) for around 200 houses on the fields opposite Adel St. John’s Church next to the current Centurion Fields site.

In attendance for DWH were Colin Simpson, David Hudson, Andrew Paley, Alan Poyser (drainage expert), Stephen Phillips (Optima, DWH Highways consultant), Rebecca Wasse (Hallam Land, partners with DWH), Mark Johnson, Planning Consultant with DWH.

In attendance for Leeds City Council (LCC) Planning Department were Carol Cunningham, Lead Planning Officer for this application and Andrew Thickett, Highways Planner.

Ian Bond the Chairman of the Adel Neighbourhood Forum read out a statement on behalf of the Forum which in essence said that the Forum were not in favour of any development on this site and would support residents in their efforts to stop the development. Ian explained they had a series of questions to put to the developer and asked members of the Forum to read out their questions which would be grouped for ease of flow of the meeting.

Question 1 – Why are you bringing this forward now when the site allocations are not decided yet?

Answer 1 –  DWH – It is PAS land, the Council does not have a 5-year land supply and needs to call on PAS sites. There is a criterion for PAS sites but land supply is short and we need the land. LCC have lost 13 appeals in a row due to not having a 5 –year land supply.

Answer 1 – LCC – The Council are fighting the fact that they don’t have a 5-year land supply as they would argue that they do. Under current criteria PAS sites can be released before the site allocations is known but only if the site is less than 10ha. This site is not less than 10 ha. The application is also premature. If DWH were to put an application in today it would be refused on the 10ha. rule.

Question 2 – Why did you not deliver flyers to all the areas to advertise the public exhibition that was held and why not to the people living in Centurion Fields at present?

Answer 2 – DWH – The public exhibition was only 1 of several consultations with the public. We delivered 300 flyers to houses in the area. The feedback forms are still on the website. There will also be statutory consultation.

DWH conceded they had not delivered flyers to the Centurion Fields houses.

Question 3 – At the public exhibition you all seemed to be more interested in talking amongst yourselves than listening to what residents were saying.

Answer 3 – DWH – The hall was full and colleagues were constantly engaged with the public. We keep notes in our heads of what people tell us and there are the feedback forms. These will be analysed and the Council will also get a copy of the comments forms.

Question 4 – Is this application going to fail or succeed on the 5 –year land supply?

Answer 4 – LCC – it is not the only thing that will decide it.

Question 5 – When Leeds was divided into site allocations it was said that we needed 2000 in the outer north west market assessment area. Already there is 983 as at 31.3.12 which is 7 ½ years worth [and additional to that are new applications that were not on line at that time e.g. Bodington] so why is this coming forward now?

Answer 5 – DWH – The 5-year land supply figure is not based on that area alone, you cannot break it down like that, and it applies to the whole of the Leeds area.

Answer 5 – LCC – That is correct, you cannot apply a figure to the smaller market assessment areas. In the recent Horsforth planning appeal LCC spoke to the Inspector about the 5-year land supply.

Additional point to DWH  – There is no good argument as to why you are rushing this through now. This site should be well into the future if the phasing is correct. A PAS designation does not mean that you can go ahead and build on it now.

Question 7 – This proposal will have a huge impact on traffic and on highways surrounding the area. We are worried about the impact this will have on Otley Road, the A660, Adel Lane and Church Lane, what impact surveys have you done?

Answer 7 – DWH Transport consultants – We have done lots of surveys to see how busy the junctions all round the area are. We have also carried out speed checks. These will help us to create models of the situation and we will then go on site to observe the traffic and the highways issues, the number of trips, the general direction of travel at various times of the day. We will then re-run the model and see what impact on each junction there will be and what mitigation would be required to alleviate any issues.

Question 8 – Can the Forum have copies of all your traffic assessments and proposals for resolving the highways issues?

Answer 8 – DWH – These will all be available and lodged with the planning application when it is submitted.

Additional Point to DWH – when you did the surveys it was school holiday time for all of the private schools so the traffic was much lighter.

DWH said they would re-do the surveys once they had checked what week and in what times of day the evidence was captured. They will also get an independent survey done.

Additional Point to DWH – if you access the site only through Church Lane and you don’t get access to the A660 would your application be knocked back?

LCC Highways Planner – The survey work done by DWH was not known to the Council nor agreed with LCC so they do not know what the surveys consist of. I am sure that you don’t want more traffic on Adel Lane.

Further point to LCC – Is there not a presumption that traffic from any site should not go out on to a major highway i.e. the A660.

LCC Highways Planner – There are lots of technical issues that need looked at and we have not had a chance to talk to the developers yet.

Question 9 – Would the Council have objections on highways grounds?

Answer 9 – LCC – It’s hard for people to understand this but it is not up to the developer to make things better than they currently are. Assessments should demonstrate queues will be no worse once their modelling is complete. These calculations and assessments need to take in the cumulative impact of other developments on the A660 and other traffic corridors.

Question 10 – Infrastructure – Education – The schools are full and we are receiving appeals from local people who cannot get into the schools. These families now need to make car journeys to the school chosen for them. In terms of the money the developers have to find for education purposes where is this going to go?

Answer 10 – LCC – There are a number of “asks” in relation to education. Planning has to ensure the money comes in but it is passed to education and they will make the decision what to spend it on. LCC Planning has no say in the matter.

Answer 10 – DWH – We do lots of planning applications. The industry has no say as to where the money goes. It’s not up to us. Good schools sell houses. If LCC require us to contribute we will. If Planning feel there is a particular need, we will meet it.

Additional Point to DWH – Would you be willing to make some of the land on the PAS site available for a new school.

DWH responded that people would probably not want extra traffic generated by a school in this area.

Question 11 – Will you take into account extra trips made by residents who have to travel elsewhere to a school because they cannot get a place here? How much will you put into building a new school, what is the figure?

Answer 11 – DWH – there is a formula calculated by the Government and whatever we are asked to pay we will pay.

Question 12 – To LCC – you should take advantage of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) to turn this down while you can. DWH will do whatever you ask to get permission but you cannot say that this site meets the sustainable criteria.

Answer 12 – LCC – Sustainability is one of the considerations in the NPPF and yes this site is against the NPPF.

Question 13 – We are against this development on heritage and conservation grounds. You are taking the heart out of Adel. We have a Grade 1 Listed Norman Church which is in a wonderful setting, it has a medieval footpath running through the site and the site borders our conservation area. You have no heritage experts here with you?

Answer 13 – DWH – The Inspector said this site could be developed. We are only putting in an outline application to establish the principle of development on this site.  The application will include a heritage assessment. The Inspector set us a challenge by asking us to look at the heritage aspects of the site and take it into consideration.

When we submit our application we will provide the Adel Association and the Adel Neighbourhood Forum with all the documents on disk.

Additional Point – Do you honestly believe you can develop this site and not destroy the setting of the church?

DWH – We developed a site at Boston Spa which is similar. Residents at the time said we would never do it but we did and we have won numerous awards for that site. We are looking at this seriously – we have 3 heritage experts to call on.

Additional Point – Boston Spa does not have a Grade 1 listed Norman Church so is not similar.

Additional Point – As can be seen from the Centurion Fields site DWH cannot be trusted with a stretch of hedgerow.

Question 14 – LCC – Is the conservation area argument standing up to your original comments made on 2/11/09 .

Answer 14 – LCC – Yes we will stand by the comments the Inspector made in the UDP report.

Additional Point – At the public exhibition DWH had no idea about the medieval footpath.

Question 15 – At early stages like this certain key things should be in your plans – there is nothing about individual design. There is no excuse for this, I don’t accept it’s too early a stage for you to have looked at this. There is no contextual information on your plans i.e. there is nothing to show how the church will work into the plans.

Answer 15 – DWH – We have 3 consultants we are looking to engage in order to gather data to help us with the best design.

Additional Point – Adel Association were asked to provide people who could help with the heritage aspect.

Question 16 – Who is responsible for the drainage if there is a problem in the future on the land once it is built over, DWH or the owners of the houses or LCC?

Answer 16 – DWH, drainage consultant – I am not aware this land is in a flood plain, there isn’t one there at the moment. We are consulting with LCC’s drainage people. We will stop water flowing by putting a control in place. Climate change will also be taken into account. We work out a run rate and at any one time we can hold back 2000 cubic metres of water in the tanks we will be putting in.

Our plans have to go to the Environment Agency and they go through them with a fine toothcomb.  This forms part of the application. We will also be visiting the residents down at Adel Mill.

Additional Point – At Adel Willows the water table is already high, our gardens are flooded every winter.

DWH – this is because you have impermeable soil and flow from the site will go into the watercourse..

Additional Point to DWH – what will you do to stop run-off and how will you hold back that amount of water, we don’t want concrete tanks built into the site so that you can develop more of it, we want it green

DWH – We will use a sustainable drainage system. A computer programme assimilates all the information and data we gather and puts a solution in place. It assimilates storm conditions and likely occurrences of storms.

Question 17 – Who can access the affordable housing on the site and will local people get the first option?

Answer 17 – DWH – the affordable housing on the Centurion Fields site will be passed by us to a Housing Association and they will decide who will be able to access them. The rents are set within the district rate and the ones on Centurion Fields will be for rent at around £60pw for a 2-bedroom

Additional Point – we need houses in Adel that our more senior residents can downsize into.

LCC – we do speak to the Housing Department to try and find out what is needed locally for a particular area.