On 1 March the residents of Holbeck voted overwhelmingly to adopt the Holbeck Neighbourhood Plan. Despite atrocious weather, hundreds turned out to vote with 79% voting yes to the plan drawn up over five years by local residents.
On the back of that result, Dennis Kitchen, chair of Holbeck Neighbourhood Forum wrote to Council chiefs about the former Matthew Murray High School site, which has lain derelict since the school was demolished in 2006.
As we reported in November last year, Leeds City Council has entered into talks with Leeds United who are keen to move their training ground from Thorp Arch to the site in Holbeck.
In his letter Dennis Kitchen said that Forum members “requsted that consideration and reference be made to the Holbeck Neighbourhood Plan in all conversations regarding the site. On page 28 of the plan, policy H3, is in direct response to the desires of the community, that the site should be used primarily for housing.”
He concluded: “The site has been derelict over a long period of time and clearly a good use of this valuable land asset is needed. The discussion has to be, what development is good for Holbeck that brings the best benefits to the community?”
The consensus at the last Forum meeting was that professional footballers driving to and from a gated training ground in expensive cars would do little for the Holbeck community.
The response sent from Tom Riordan, Leeds City Council’s Chief Executive, gives little hope of an early discussion. It states:
“Discussions with the Club are ongoing in line with Executive Board approval and we will seek to engage the community at the appropriate time when proposals are firmed up.”
However any proposals for development of the site will need planning permission and granting that must take account of Holbeck’s Neighbourhood Plan, which is part of the city’s planning policy now.
The issue will be debated at the next meeting of the Forum, which will also discuss how it will approach commenting on all planning applications coming forward in the area.
Holbeck Neighbourhood Forum takes place on Saturday 28 April at 11:30am (refreshments from 11am) at St Matthew’s Community Centre. All welcome.