As part of the Localism Act 2011, communities can create a neighbourhood plan which can influence development and improve sustainability in a local area.
The interim Holbeck Neighbourhood Forum made up of residents, businesses, councillors and other local stakeholders has now secured the go-ahead from Leeds City Council to prepare a plan for the newly-designated Holbeck Neighbourhood Area.
The designated boundaries of the area are the railway line to the north, the M621 to the south, the inner ring road to the east and Sweet Street to the west. Within these boundaries are the residential areas of Holbeck as well as a business/light industrial area to the north of the viaduct.
Holbeck is one of four neighbourhood area pilots in Leeds, and is the first non-parished area to be designated. The other pilot areas are at Kippax, Boston Spa and Otley.
The Holbeck Neighbourhood Plan aims to promote regeneration and growth in the area as well as creating closer ties with Holbeck Urban Village and the city centre. Priorities in the plan will be improving pedestrian and cycle links as well as protecting and promoting the heritage assets in the area.
The council, local community and Planning Aid England are working closely on the plan, with the backing of the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG).
The next stage of the process is to designate the Holbeck Neighourhood Forum, made up of at least 21 people who live, work and carry out business in the area. The forum will then develop the plan so it can be put to an independent examiner for assessment.
Should the assessment recommend proceeding, a public referendum would take place in 2015 for the plan to be voted on by local residents.
Leeds City Council executive member for neighbourhoods, planning and support services Councillor Peter Gruen said:
“This is a very positive first step in creating a local neighbourhood plan for Holbeck and the council is pleased to support it.
“Giving local people more control over what happens in their communities is important, and there are a lot of people working hard to ensure this pilot project succeeds. We look forward to following the progress of the forum and the plan in the months to come.”
Interim chair of the interim Holbeck Neighbourhood Forum Dennis Kitchen said:
“This is an exciting development for Holbeck. The Holbeck community is looking forward to shaping its own future and taking a real lead in planning and guiding improvements to the area. Holbeck has great potential and lifting the profile of the area through our Neighbourhood Forum is both a challenge and a privilege.”