Fresh opposition to Diocese plans for Guiseley

First published in News Wharfedale Observer: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

PLANS to build on land used by scouts in Guiseley are being opposed by a councillor for the area.

The Diocese of West Yorkshire and the Dales' proposals to build two houses on a site next to the rectory have already proved controversial.

Now Guiseley and Rawdon councillor Paul Wadsworth has said he will be objecting to the plan on the grounds that it will overdevelop the area and result in the loss of much loved green space.

A previous planning application for the land has already been withdrawn and a revised plan has been submitted. The Diocese is also offering the scouts the use of an alternative piece of land.

Councillor Wadsworth said: "This attractive green space has traditionally been well used by local Scout and Guide groups and it would be a real loss to the area if it were lost.

"The Green is already busy with traffic, and this situation will likely only intensify if proposals for expanding the local school go ahead. By building more properties on The Green, there would be a real risk of creating even more traffic issues and overdeveloping the area.

"I am objecting to these proposals, as they are likely to have a negative impact on the local area and local residents."

The plan is also causing concern to Aireborough Neighbourhood Forum, which is now asking for talks with the Diocese.

The forum's Acting Programme Manager Jennifer Kirkby said the alternative land being offered to the scouts was actually the side of the St Oswald’s school playing field.

She pointed out that the school was due to expand by 60 children with additional buildings and hardstanding.

"This alternative land also means that the scouts’ activities on five nights of the week would surround any new houses on two sides – the current plan is for one of the houses to be very close to the scout building, and the school playing field potentially offered, goes across the back," she said.

"This situation does not follow good planning design principals where you have to be aware of conflicting uses causing disputes.

"Can you imagine have scouts running around the edges of your garden five nights a week – one of the letters of objection already says they can be heard across the playing field. Another potential cause of conflict would be the new entrance to the houses crossing an area where more parents will be dropping children off at school, and walking along the pavement."

From this month the forum is officially designated to draw up a neighbourhood development plan, and Ms Kirkby said they needed to respond to the application on a holistic basis.

She said the school was due to expand, the area was environmentally at risk of high levels of surface water flooding, Guiseley already had a lot of family housing with a lot more planned, and the area was short of amenity land and sports fields.

She said: "We have asked to talk with the Diocese to listen to their case and to explain the current situation, the issues that Aireborough has with lack of infrastructure and facilities and what the Leeds Development Framework has in store. We then hope to include a rounded view in our comments back to Leeds Planning Department."

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