Monday, 7 August 2017

Labour back Developer against Drighlington Community

Pitty Close Farm in Drighlington also know as Spring Gardens

Campaigners in Drighlington have pledged to battle on after Leeds City Councils Plans Panel agreed a housing application for 200 houses on Pitty Close Farm in Drighlington. The decision to grant planning permission follows a long campaign of opposition with Drighlington Parish Council, Morley North City Councillors and local MP Andrea Jenkyns all backing residents who opposed the plan.

 Cllr Robert Finnigan said “There was wide scale opposition to these plans from residents and all elected representatives who cover the Drighlington area. Figures from Education Chiefs confirmed that Drighlington Primary School had no room to accommodate the additional 60 children that will come from this site in the primary sector and also confirmed no spare capacity at Birchfield and Gildersome Primary’s to take these additional students. The Planners report also confirmed the site breached Council Highways guidance on access roads and the Councils own accessibility standards for secondary schools. However Labour Plans Panel members voted it through despite opposition from Independent, Lib Dem and Conservative Councillors.”

 The site, off King Street in Drighlington, was allocated as a phase 3 site in the Local Development Plan which should have left it undeveloped until after 2028 but Leeds City Council failed to prove it had a 5 year land supply after Labour Councillors backed a 74,000 new homes housing target.

 Cllr Finnigan said “Leeds City Council is now having to review its unrealistic housing target to reduce the number to prevent Developers ripping up Greenfield sites across Leeds. Despite this review Leeds City Council continues to back Developers instead of communities opposing unsustainable development.”

 Cllr Finnigan has contacted local MP Andrea Jenkyns to request that the application is called in by the Secretary of State for planning  because the application breaches guidance in Central Governments National Planning Policy Framework.

 Cllr Andy Hutchison from Drighlington Parish Council said “I can unreservedly confirm that the support for the application to be ‘called in’ is supported by Drighlington Parish Council.”

 Leeds City Councils Plan Panel has already agreed to housing development on Low Moor Farm, Owlers Farm, Bruntcliffe Road, Scott Lane, Laneside Farm and Churwell New Village with around 1600 new housing units granted planning permission. No additional school places at primary or secondary schools across Morley have been agreed nor any  highways improvements to deal with additional traffic.




Monday, 24 July 2017

Speed Reduction Plan for Drighlington

An additional speed indication device has been introduced onto Whitehall Road in Drighlington as part of a programme to reduce speed by motorists leaving and entering the village. The speed indication device, called a SID, gives drivers a warning if they are breaching the speed limit but also confirms their speed if they are driving at or under 30mph.

 Cllr Bob Gettings, who found the funding for the additional device said “We have had significant concerns about the speed vehicles are travelling on the Whitehall Road – especially when they are leaving Drighlington or are travelling towards the village from Leeds – and these devices have shown to reduce the overall speed vehicles travel at. They also collect data on speeding issues which could provide evidence to lobby Central Government for permanent solutions – such as permanent safety cameras.”

 Several SID devices are operating across the Morley area including in Gildersome, Glen Road and on Scatcherd Lane.

 Cllr Gettings said “We need a permanent solution for Whitehall Road and that means permanent safety cameras. We will continue to lobby for their introduction in Drighlington using the evidence will can collect from the SID devices. Speeding by motorists on Churwell Hill has been substantially reduced because of safety cameras and we believe this will have the same impact in Drighlington.”

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Churwell Park News

New play equipment in Churwell Park

New play equipment in Churwell Park has been shown with a new picture taken by Cllr Robert Finnigan. The new equipment – for younger children – follows a short campaign by Ward and Town Councillors to extend the recent refurbished children’s playground at the park.

 Cllr Finnigan said “I am grateful for the work of the Parks Department and the support from Churwell Action Group and Churwell Town Councillors. This new play equipment is what residents with children have been asking for over several months and I am glad we are able to deliver a great scheme reasonably quickly.”

 The new equipment will be open for full use as soon as the new fencing has been put in place.

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Churwell Woodland Adventure

The Mayor of Morley, Cllr Robert Finnigan, attended the Churwell Woodland Adventure on Sunday along with the Mayoress, Lisa Finnigan, Deputy Mayor Cllr Roger Bell and Deputy Mayoress Christine Bell. The event, run by Churwell Environmental Volunteers, showcased the work the group had undertaking with delivering a woodlands railway along with other improvements to Clark Spring Woods in Churwell.

 Cllr Robert Finnigan said “It was an excellent event and the weather was delightful. The work the Environmental Volunteers have undertaken; the woodland railway, the dipping pond along with improvements to the footpaths and signage, is a tribute to their commitment to their local community. The Woods, often overlooked in the past, is now a thriving place of interest for local people, both young and old. It is an excellent community asset!”

 Residents were treated to trips on the miniature railway, an exploration theme at the dipping pond along with raffles, cake stalls and tombola’s.

 Cllr Roger Bell said “It was a privilege and a pleasure to attend. The Volunteers work hard all year round, with the support of their local community, to deliver a work programme that have transformed the Woods to a particularly special location.”

Monday, 22 May 2017

Topcliffe Lane meeting

Over 30 residents turned up at a meeting at Morley Town Hall last Saturday morning to discuss their concerns about parking problems they are having on Topcliffe Lane in Morley.

The meeting, called by Cllrs Judith Elliott and Shirley Varley, follows a review of the traffic management in the area and concerns raised by residents.

Cllr Judith Elliott said “We were grateful for such good turnout on a Saturday morning. It was a positive meeting and residents raised a lot of good ideas which we will be putting to the Highways Department for consideration.”

Residents told Councillors about the problems with parking close to their homes, the challenges both bus services and emergency vehicles had with getting down Topcliffe Lane because of congestion and issues of lorry drivers sleeping in their cabs outside their homes.

Cllr Varley said “We recognise the problems residents face and the Highways Section is exploring what practical options exist to allow better enforcement on Topcliffe Lane to keep traffic free flowing and to reduce the significant challenges residents have parking in the area.”

Proposals from the meeting including the introduction and extension of yellow lining down the lane along with the relocation of a bus and a loading bay and a residents only parking permit scheme.

Cllr Elliott said “We will be meeting Highways Officers shortly to discuss residents proposals and we have promised to meet residents at a further meeting. We will continue to work hard to find long lasting solutions to the problems residents are having on Topcliffe Lane.”

Monday, 20 March 2017

Labour betray Churwell

Leeds City Council has granted planning permission for a controversial planning application at Laneside Farm in Churwell. The decision – made by Labour Councillors at a Plans Panel Meeting last Thursday – means Developer Persimmons now has planning permission for 550 homes on the Greenfield site off Churwell Hill.

Cllr Robert Finnigan – who attended the Plans Panel meeting and spoke against the approval recommendation said “This is another example of Leeds City Council backing Developers instead of the local community. Almost 1000 local residents objected to this application along with the town’s MP Andrea Jenkyns, Morley Town Council and the Leeds City Council Ward Members who cover the Churwell area. It appears Leeds City Council is more persuaded by a wealthy developer than residents whose lives will be negatively impacted upon by this development.”

The planning report - which supported an approval decision - confirmed that there was not enough spaces in Morley primary schools to accommodate children generated by the site and proposed allocating places at primary schools in the Beeston area. The report also confirmed that the junction of Elland Road and the Ring Road was already loaded beyond its capacity and that the Development proposed by Persimmons would make problems of congestion worse.

Cllr Finnigan said “We had a sympathetic hearing from Conservative, Liberal Democrat, Green and MBI Councillors who all voted against this proposal. All of the Labour Councillors on the Panel voted to grant approval for this development despite the concerns of local residents. Morley has yet again been let down by Leeds City Council which has no interest in Morley other than to take more Council Tax from residents choosing to back a Developer who made over £350 million profit last year."

The 550 home development will be restricted to 240 new homes until a new primary school for Churwell is built and will need to contribute to a future proposal for a road improvement plan on the ring road.

Monday, 13 March 2017

Judgement Day

A decision on a planning application from the Developer Persimmons for 550 homes at Laneside Farm Churwell will be considered by Leeds City Councils Plans Panel next Thursday. The controversial application - which has attracted almost a thousand objections from local residents – will be considered by the Plans Panel with a Leeds City Council recommendation for approval.
Cllr Robert Finnigan led the Morley borough Independent Campaign against the application and is attending the Panel Meeting to speak against the proposal.

Cllr Finnigan said “This proposal – if approved – will lead to a loss of a valuable Greenfield site which provides a “greenbelt” between the communities of Churwell and Morley. We objected because of the significant impact this proposal would have on congestion on Churwell Hill, the lack of school and health centre places and the fact that most of the homes will be executive style housing not affordable homes for local residents.”

The Planning Officers report acknowledges the negative impact the site will have on traffic congestion on Churwell Hill and recommends an additional £1.5 million contribution to improve the junction of Elland Road and the Ring Road. The report also recommends that the site is restricted to a maximum of 220 homes until an additional primary school is provided.

Cllr Finnigan said “This site was supposed to be protected until at least 2028 and preserved as a Greenfield site. As a result of the failure of Labour controlled Leeds City Council to provide a 5 year land supply after agreeing an unrealistic housing target of 74,000 new homes by 2028 – developers are having a field day at the expense of local communities and local Greenfield sites. If this is agreed then it will bring the total of new homes agreed on Morley Greenfield sites to over 1200 new housing units without any additional investment in schools, health centres or roads.”

The campaign to oppose the development of Laneside Farm was also supported by local MP Andrea Jenkyns who raised her concerns about the application with the Planning Minister last week.

Cllr Finnigan said “I am delighted that Andrea has raised the overdevelopment of Morley directly with the Planning Minister. I know she opposes this development and supports a brownfield first approach where previously developed land should be used before turning to Greenfield sites. Leeds City Council has already granted enough Planning Permission for over 20,000 new homes across Leeds on mainly brownfield sites that have not yet been built and we all agree those sites should be prioritised instead of Greenfield ones.”