Save Tetley Field, Save Leeds

Another month has ticked by since my last blog on Tetley Field and – who knows – perhaps we are getting nearer to a decision on the planning application? The application has not been on the agendas of the Council’s Plans Panel meetings of August and September, so still we wait…

What has happened though is that the number of formal Objectors to the application has doubled! Over 500 signatories of both online and paper Petitions now appear on the Council’s Public Access system. So, along with the 500+ Objections already submitted, well over 1000 people have now objected to the application in total.

That’s a serious weight of opposition. Quite literally in fact – here are all those Objections and signatures printed out, taking up 2 Lever Arch files:

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I’ve taken the laborious but ultimately uplifting task of reading through all these Objections. And the clear message to be taken from them is that Tetley Field (and other green spaces like it) is absolutely vital to the lives of the residents of Leeds. To their health, their recreation, their spirits. Particularly for those with no garden or no easy access to the countryside. Indeed many have expressed that good access to green space is precisely the reason why they choose to live in Leeds at all. It is clear that people who live in Leeds value day-to-day access to green spaces over and above the claimed benefits of a redeveloped Headingley Stadium.

The Council Members that sit on the Plans Panel will shortly have a momentous decision to make, not just for Tetley Field but for the Council, indeed the city, as a whole. Development on Tetley Field would be at odds with the Council’s own planning policies. Development on Tetley Field would compromise the visual character and setting of cherished city assets – Meanwood Park and the wider Meanwood Valley corridor. Development on Tetley Field would set a dangerous precedent allowing Green Belt applications to be justified on the grounds of spurious “benefits” elsewhere. And development on Tetley Field would demonstrate that the Council appears more interested in the status that comes from Leeds hosting elite sport than the day-to-day needs of the city’s own residents.

By comparison, refusing planning permission on Tetley Field would create a valuable opportunity for Leeds City Council. An opportunity to work with both landowner and local community to improve the visual character, biodiversity and access to an already-loved green space. An opportunity to improve the border with the Council’s own Meanwood Park. An opportunity for both Council and landowner to be seen to be doing good for the people and city of Leeds.

So my message to the Members of the Plans Panel who will (eventually!) make the decision on this application would be – refuse the application and Save Tetley Field, and in so doing save Leeds, its land and its residents, from further harm.