Convenience store proposed for historic conservation area

The developer Holbeck Land is proposing to build a large convenience store in
The developer Holbeck Land is proposing to build a large convenience store in the Headingley, Hyde Park and Woodhouse Moor Conservation Area. The store would be located on the south side of Victoria Road immediately adjacent to 63 Victoria Road. 63 Victoria Road was formerly known as Ash Grove Villa and is a listed building dating back to the first half of the 19th century. Ash Grove Villa is pictured below.

The developer Holbeck Land is proposing to build a large convenience store in 

The developer Holbeck Land is proposing to build a large convenience store in 

You can object to this application either by submitting a comment via this link, or by sending an email to :, or by writing to the Development Enquiry Centre, The Leonardo Building, 2 Rossington St, Leeds, LS2 8HD. If you send an email, please be sure to include your postal address.

The five local primary schools all want the Chestnut Avenue swimming pool and sports hall to be acquired for their pupils to use

The heads of the five local primary schools all want the swimming pool and
The heads of the five local primary schools all want the swimming pool and sports hall on the Chestnut Avenue site to be acquired for the use of their children:

Brudenell Primary School 9.6.08

Quarry Mount Primary School 9.6.08

Rosebank Primary School

Shire Oak Primary School 9.6.08

Spring Bank Primary School 10.6.08

Meeting to discuss the future of the Chestnut Avenue site

ting was held
This evening’s meeting was held at the Cardigan Centre. It was attended by four representatives of the developer; Ian Barraclough, John Barraclough, Stuart Natkus, and Matthew Fuller; five councillors; John Illingworth, Janette Walker, Neil Walshaw, Martin Hamilton and Javaid Akhtar; the community planning officer, Ryan Platten and forty one local residents.

Martin Oxley from Futsal came and spoke about how given the chance he could make the site available for the community to use for sports purposes. He said there is plenty of money out there in the form of grants. He said he’s done it before and can do it again.

Amit Roy said the School hadn’t just moved the goalposts, it had moved the entire playing field. He compared the School to locusts, determined to consume everything in our area, and to leave nothing behind.

Mavis Whitbread pointed out that there was an article in today’s paper about how people at Holt Park are complaining that they’ll be without a leisure centre for 11 months while a new multi million pound leisure centre is built to replace their old one, whereas the people of Hyde Park have never had a leisure centre, and now the only swimming pool and sports centre in the area will be pulled down if the current planning application goes ahead.

Councillor Illingworth said that life expectancy in the Holt Park area is 11 to 12 years longer than life expectancy in the Hyde Park area.

Another lady said that whereas the developers claim their development will attract families to the area, the reality is that by building on Hyde Park’s last remaining green space, existing families will be driven from the area.

In response to a promise by Ian Barraclough to include an orchard in the development, Christine McQuillan said her grandchildren don’t need an orchard to sit in and get fat, they need a swimming pool.

It was pointed out from the floor that the swimming pool and sports hall are protected from demolition by a planning law which says that before land with existing sports facilities can be built on, those facilities have to be replaced elsewhere, and the School hasn’t replaced the swimming pool and sports hall with new ones either at Alwoodley or anywhere else. Councillor Hamilton said he would look into this.

At the end of the meeting, residents voted to reject the current planning application, and to establish an action group whose aim will be to ensure that the site remains as a playing field and that the swimming pool and sports hall are made available for use by the community.

You can read a full account of the meeting here.

Public meeting to discuss an application to build on the Chestnut Avenue playing field

South Headingley Community Association is holding a public meeting to discuss planning application 12/02491 which proposes building on the Chestnut Avenue playing field off Victoria Road. The meeting will be held at 6.30pm on Wednesday the 1st August at the Cardigan Centre.

The Chestnut Avenue site has been unused since the High School moved to Alwoodley to join the Leeds Boys’ Grammar School to form The Grammar School at Leeds. Now Holbeck Land and Chartford Homes, having paid a deposit on the site, want to:

  • demolish the sports hall and swimming pool and replace them with a 3-storey building comprising of a convenience store with 8 flats above.
  • build 25 houses on the playing field with some exercise space.

South Headingley Community Association is strongly opposed to the proposal because

  • Several public meetings have already called for the sports facilities to be saved.
  • The five schools in the area need an extra 40,846 square metres to comply with the area required by the School Premises Regulations. Brudenell, Quarry Mount and Rosebank have no playing field space.
  • Locally owned shops and convenience stores already struggle

You can object to this application either by submitting a comment via this link, or by sending an email to :, or by writing to the Development Enquiry Centre, The Leonardo Building, 2 Rossington St, Leeds, LS2 8HD. If you send an email, please be sure to include your postal address.

Plans Panel West considers the latest Leeds Girls High planning application


Localocal resident Martin Staniforth was present at this afternoon’s meeting ofLocal resident Martin Staniforth was present at this afternoon’s meeting of plans panel West, and has kindly agreed to let us publish the following account of what was said in relation to the School’s latest planning application.

“I attended the Plans Panel West discussion on the latest application this afternoon. This was a preliminary discussion and no decisions were made on the application.

Panel was chaired by Cllr Taggart in Cllr Harper’s absence. Tony Clegg from the Planning Dept outlined the key changes from the earlier applications and flagged up the issues which were of concern to officers and on which Panel’s views were sought (these are contained in the paper for the meeting, a link to which was circulated by Ryan Platten on 6 June).

There was a fairly lengthy discussion but three key points arose. First Cllr Akhtar raised the issue of retaining tennis courts but was told firmly by Cllr Taggart that he did not intend to reopen discussion on this issue which had already been dealt with comprehensively by Plans Panel and the Planning Inspector.

Second, the issues raised by officers were all agreed by Panel members and there will now be further discussion with the School to seek to resolve them. Panel members were particularly concerned about:

  1. the proximity of Block 10 to the western access road and trees, the risk of damage to tree roots and likely pressure from residents for trees to be removed.
  2. the size and scale of the gatehouse blocks (17 and 18) and the new block in the North East corner of the site (Block 19)
  3. the need for high quality treatment of the perimeter wall along Victoria Road
  4. the need for a fuller design code for the site.

Panel members felt they were being asked to take too much on trust.

Third there was discussion of whether affordable housing should be provided off-site, as previously agreed, or on-site, now that the affordable housing requirement had been reduced to 5%. Local councillors spoke eloquently in favour of an off-site approach, and Cllr Taggart supported this in principle. Other members were less persuaded. Officers were asked to do further work particularly on what a 5% contribution would purchase off-site before the application returns to Plans Panel (which may be in July).

There was no discussion of other issues.”

The Love of Money

It’s three years since Leeds Girls High School left for Alwoodley. That’s three years in which local children could have been playing on the tennis courts and green spaces of the Leeds Girls High School site. The reason this hasn’t happened is because the School is determined to get as much money as possible for the site even though it no longer requires the land itself (having been allowed planning permission to build a new School on farmland acquired very cheaply at Alwoodley).

Three years ago, the School submitted planning applications to build on the Headingley site, and when these were refused last November, the School appealed against the refusals. And that’s where we are now.

Over 1,300 people objected to the School’s planning applications, and over 1,000 people signed a petition asking for the playing fields to be acquired for the use of the community. The heads of the five local primary schools have all asked for the same thing. And all the local councillors have objected to the planning applications and both MPs.

Given the overwhelming desire of an entire community to acquire this open space for the use of some of the most deprived children in the city, it’s hard to believe that anyone within the community would set out to thwart the community’s aspiration simply in order to obtain money.

A couple of years ago, following lobbying from Headingley Development Trust, INWAC councillors agreed that any off-site affordable housing contributions arising in any of the four INWAC wards should be paid to Headingley Development Trust. At last August’s meeting of Plans West, the School’s representative announced that the affordable housing contribution from the Leeds Girls High School site would amount to £1.7 million. So, if the planning applications had been approved, HDT could have expected to receive £1.7 million. And if the School’s appeal is successful, HDT will similarly benefit.

The School’s barrister made much at today’s hearing of the fact that the Headingley and Hyde Park Neighbourhood Design Statement refers to desirability of there being “new development in a landscaped setting” on the Leeds Girls High School site. The Headingley and Hyde Park Neighbourhood Design Statement was produced by Headingley Development Trust.

The School’s barrister said today that it’s quite possible that should the School win the appeal, that it will sell off the site piecemeal. If this happens, there will very likely be fresh planning applications, and Headingley Development Trust may have to wait quite a while before it sees its money – if indeed it ever does see it.

At the Inquiry today

Council Chamber

At the Inquiry today. the School appeared to have accepted that there’s a shortage of courts in the Hyde Park and Woodhouse, and Headingley areas, but maintained that if parents here were serious about their children playing tennis, they would drive them to tennis courts further afield. The School also maintained that the children themselves could travel by bus to these other courts.

The School’s website lists 25 tennis courts at its Alwoodley site and says that they are all to be floodlit. According to Lawn Tennis Association figures, that’ll be enough tennis courts to cater for 1,500 tennis players. Currently the School has 2,207 pupils. That means that the School expects 68% of its pupils to be tennis players. This compares with the Lawn Tennis Association finding that just 2% of the population play tennis. In terms of tennis courts, that’s an over-provision by the School of 3,400%

John the Baptist said, “Let the man who has two coats give one to the man who has none.” But even though the School has 25 tennis courts out at Alwoodley, built on land acquired cheaply at green belt prices, they’re not prepared to part with any of the courts they no longer require at Headingley, for anything less than market value.

Public Inquiry highlights Leeds University’s failure to provide tennis courts for its 33,000+ students

The Woodhouse Moor tennis courts, full to capacity even on a cold afternoon in January.

In response to evidence provided by the community which shows that Hyde Park and Woodhouse, and Headingley wards are severely lacking in terms of tennis court provision, the School is claiming that this evidence should be adjusted to exclude the large student population living in the area. The community’s evidence took the form of charts using Lawn Tennis Association standards applied to local population data. In response the School has supplied charts which are identical in every respect to the community’s except that they exclude the area’s student population. The School is arguing that the area’s students should be using the University’s own tennis facilities.

But what and where are these facilities, and are they adequate for the university’s 33,000+ student population ?

Using the LTA standard, which reckons that 2% of the population plays tennis, the university should be providing either 16 un-floodlit courts or 11 floodlit courts for its 33,000+ students. But instead, the university provides just 6 tennis/five-a-side football courts at Weetwood. So there are just 6 courts, and student tennis players are having to compete for their use with five-a-side football players. That the university is not providing sufficient courts, or even accessible courts is demonstrated by the fact that the university men’s and women’s tennis teams advertise organised tennis and coaching on Woodhouse Moor and at Batley, outside Leeds.

The university’s failure to provide adequate tennis provision for its students is a tragedy not just for its students, but for local people who are having to compete with students for the use of the already inadequate public tennis courts on our local parks.

The tennis court shortage within a one mile radius of Leeds Girls High School

The area shaded yellow on the above map shows all the ‘output areas’ within an approximate one mile radius of Leeds Girls High School (output areas are small geographic units used by the Office for National Statistics to show population related data based on census information).

At the time of the 2001 census, the output areas within a one mile radius of Leeds Girls High School contained 52,307 people. According to the Lawn Tennis Association, about 2% of the population plays tennis. This means that the area shaded yellow contains 1,046 tennis players. The Lawn Tennis Association has found that one outdoor un-floodlit court can service the needs of 40 tennis players. Within the yellow shaded area, there are 9 usable courts (6 on Woodhouse Moor and 3 in Burley Park) and 4 unusable courts (on the Elida Gibbs Recreation Ground). This all means that the area within a one mile radius of Leeds Girls High School requires an additional 17 outdoor un-floodlit tennis courts in order to provide the minimal number of courts to service the tennis playing population.

This evidence was today placed before the Inspector at the Leeds Girls High School planning inquiry.

Meeting to discuss community use of the Chestnut Avenue sports facilities

From left to right: John Davison, Martin Oxley, Will Ryder and Sophie Michelena

Tonight’s meeting was arranged by Sphere, a non profit organization dedicated to the promotion of sport. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss Sphere’s bid to be allowed to use the Chestnut Avenue sports facilities on behalf of the community. Speakers included Martin Oxley (Futsal Project Coordinator), John Davison (Futsal Community Coach and local resident), Will Ryder (Active Learning), and Sophie Michelena (Development Trust Association).

Martin Oxley I’ve met with School governor Ken Morton who was very receptive to what we’re proposing. Without planning permission, the value of the playing field is about £12,000. No one is maintaining the site. When we inspected the sports hall, we found 9 inches of water on the roof with leaves blocking the flow of water into the drainpipes. The swimming pool’s filtration system doesn’t work and would need to be replaced. Black mould is everywhere and there are issues with salmonella and legionnaires disease. Also because it was it was a single sex school, there are only single sex changing rooms.

Cllr Martin Hamilton The School will be waiting for the outcome of its appeals on the Main School and Rose Court sites before deciding on whether to submit planning applications to develop the Chestnut Avenue site. Meanwhile, a perfectly good building has been left empty. Why can’t the School allow the Community to use it, on at least a 6 month, 9 month lease? They have nothing to lose, and if anything, this will give them brownie points with the public.

Sophie Michelena So far, the School has not considered anything on a non commercial basis. But since the recession hit, “meanwhile leases” have been used to allow property that can’t be sold, to be used for community use. “Meanwhile leases” protect both properties and landowners.

Tony Green That’s a fantastic idea. Who will be responsible for insurance?

Sophie Michelena The group would pay insurance and local rates.

Amit Roy Leeds Girls High School has always had the best facilities in the city, but they have been behaving like locusts. We looked after them, respected them, but like locusts, when they leave, they gobble you up.

What will be here in the future? In a hundred, 200 years. Will there be any grass anywhere? We are blessed in this area in terms of the groups we have. The students leave a little bit of themselves behind.

Bill McKinnon Do we have an idea of the costs involved with the swimming pool, in terms of fixing it and running it?

Amit Roy These facilities are on the doorstep of the local schools. The savings they would make by using these facilities could be used to offset the cost.

Tony Crooks What about affixing solar panels to the roof to reduce costs? Some businesses are doing this, using the electricity, and selling the excess.

Sophie Michelena In the last few weeks, grants of up to £150,000 have been talked about for developing facilities and pitches for the use of sports. The full details have not yet been released.

Sue Buckle This area has some of the worst development in Leeds. It is more densely populated than Moss Side in Manchester and Tower Hamlets in London. The area needs the project and needs the pool.

Local schools would support this project. They have just 29% of the government recommended amount of playing playing pitch space.

Woodhouse Moor is the most intensely used area of green space in Leeds. Small groups play cricket, football, basketball, because there’s nowhere else for them to play. The community needs more green space. There is a real need for what you are proposing, including the swimming pool.

Will Ryder We are looking for partners We will be looking for declarations of interest from other groups…

Martin Oxley It would be a requirement for the groups involved to be active in the community in terms of giving something back, e.g working in the local schools.

Nigel Republica Internationale adult and ladies football club would be interested in using the pitches. They would provide an income stream. However it is the community that takes priority. We need to get local volunteers involved.

Man How does the community get involved?

Martin Oxley We make sure the community is involved by all the groups using the facilities doing a degree of community coaching in the area.

Lady 1 So that the facility is not overwhelmed by clubs from other areas, we should have people involved from the local community on the board of directors, i.e from the local schools, so people in the area have a voice on its direction.

Martin Oxley No one particular group would have control It is a quite open project.

Lady 2 Will there be open access to the sports pitches? i.e Will it be open for people to just turn up and play?

Martin Oxley There may be health and safety issues with that, either in principle or practice.

John Davison It would be good to have some open access for let’s say a father and son, or other people turning up to play. I don’t know how it would work in practice. The facilities may get messed up, with dog mess, broken glass etc.

Sophie Michelena Maybe we could have the fields or one of the fields with open access for one day a week?

Sue Buckle The Royal Park Community Consortium are totally behind you. We feel this would be good for the RPCC and good for HEART.

Martin Oxley We can do something really good that will be self sustainable. We will try to do what people want.