CONCERNS about the level of local council support for neighbourhood plans have been raised by MP Greg Mulholland.

Mr Mulholland (Lib Dem, Leeds North West) brought up the matter during questions in Parliament on Monday, after meeting Aireborough Neighbourhood Development Forum.

The forum says it is not receiving enough assistance from Leeds City Council (LCC), despite having put together a comprehensive neighbourhood plan for the area.

Mr Mulholland, MP Stuart Andrew (Con, Pudsey) and the forum recently met local planning officials to discuss their concerns.

They were disappointed, however, to be told LCC will need to be paid to assist with parts of the neighbourhood plan, like an Urban Character Study.

Mr Mulholland said: "I have long called for greater public involvement in the planning process, and neighbourhood plans should be an ideal way to achieve this.

"However, despite the fantastic work of the Aireborough Neighbourhood Development Forum, Leeds City Council has consistently failed to engage with residents, who are understandably concerned about the significant proposals for the development of the region.

"These residents have sought to engage with the council but are being ignored in favour of easier options.

"The Government has been clear in stating that local authorities need to provide assistance for these neighbourhood plans, and the council therefore needs to ensure they are doing so for all neighbourhood plans, and not just a select few."

Mr Mulholland also raised concerns in Parliament about the fact developers can continue to work on sites while neighbourhood plans are being developed.

Jennifer Kirkby, of the Aireborough Neighbourhood Development Forum, added: "We have tried for a number of years to engage Leeds City Council with the issues faced by Aireborough with regards the Leeds Core Strategy. We even asked that the area had a proper Area Action Plan.

"However, we have been rebuffed all the way down the line and told to input to public consultation, all of which we've done and still been ignored.

"We've therefore put together a package of proper urban planning work, with help from professional planners, and are now seeking the funding and resource to carry this out and feed it into Aireborough's Neighbourhood Plan so that the development of the area is done properly, considering all elements, not just housing."