This is version 6 of a document which will go through many drafts. It sets out broad policy objectives and is here to be amended. It will be brought back to future meetings. Since this is a planning document it does not specify who the providers will be, but sometimes this could be a local cooperative or community group.

Planning History: The last strategic planning document to complete the full legal process in Kirkstall Ward was the 1972 Development Plan Review! Local Plans in 1980 and 1986 did not complete the required public consultation. Large areas of Kirkstall were administered by the Leeds Development Corporation from 1988 to 1995 and were consequently excluded from the Leeds Unitary Development Plan (UDP). The only areas that were considered were those with limited opportunity for change. For obscure reasons Kirkstall was also excluded from the UDP Review in 2004, so the current Leeds Development Framework is the first strategic planning document since 1972 which residents could properly challenge and amend.

Scope: Our Kirkstall Neighbourhood Plan must comply with relevant parts of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and Leeds Development Framework (LDF). Locally, we have opportunities to suggest amendments to the LDF to avoid conflict with our Neighbourhood Plan. If our suggestions are rejected by Leeds City Council, then we must comply with the LDF. The positive outcome from a recent Judicial Review of the St Ives Neighbourhood Plan in November 2016 suggests that residents have considerable power if they choose to use it.

Sustainable Development: This is usually defined as development which meets the needs of the current generation without compromising the needs of our successors. Paragraph 14 of the NPPF includes a presumption in favour of sustainable development, and subsequent paragraphs explain how this should be applied. Paragraph 17 on Core Planning Principles includes the following bullet point:

  • support the transition to a low carbon future in a changing climate, taking full account of flood risk and coastal change, and encourage the reuse of existing resources, including conversion of existing buildings, and encourage the use of renewable resources (for example, by the development of renewable energy);

Draft Policy KNF1 restricts further built development in the highest flood risk areas (presently defined as the area between the Kirkstall mill goits and the main river) EXCEPT (1) for water source heat pumps and low carbon renewable energy; (2) greenhouse crops and agricultural activities; (3) physical recreation and active travel; (4) associated educational and scientific activities.

Draft Policy KNF2 requires high design and construction standards in all new developments, and public spaces, with zero tolerance for second-rate cheapskate developments in the older urban areas.

Draft Policy KNF3 supports development of the suburban rail network in Kirkstall Ward, including a new rail halt on the Harrogate line between the Hawksworth and Spen Hill estates, and a return to four track working on the Skipton / Bradford lines with the re-opening of all the rail halts and stations in the Aire Valley that were closed by the Beeching review.

Draft Policy KNF4 supports development of the bus network, with additional bus lanes to be created at traffic bottlenecks, and measures to improve road safety, and reduce traffic noise, vehicle speeds and air pollution.

Draft Policy KNF5 supports the development of a low-carbon suburban heat network linked to the progressive replacement / renewal of existing water, gas, electricity, telephone and data services and the separation of foul sewage from surface water drainage.

Draft Policy KNF6 supports the development of an off-road public footpath network, and requires the Leeds flood defence scheme to improve pedestrian access to the banks of the River Aire in Kirkstall Ward.

Draft Policy KNF7 recognises the need for (1) 500 additional parking places in residential areas that were built before mass car ownership, and (2) wide-area residents’ parking schemes, with differential charging in favour of residents, to reduce the problems caused by commuter, match-day and special event parking in residential areas.

Draft Policy KNF8 identifies the former “Tesco” site bounded by Kirkstall Lane, Kirkstall Hill, Beecroft Street and Commercial Road as an area for housing development (reflecting the LDF site allocations policies) and further specifies affordable high-density low-carbon housing similar in design and tenure to the nearby “Lilac” scheme on Victoria Park Avenue.

Draft Policy KNF9 identifies the vacant historic Kirkstall Mills (Abbey Mills and St Ann’s Mills) for various community / educational uses, for example: after-school / breakfast clubs; artisan workshop; café; children’s play; community hub; library; performing arts; physical recreation; restaurant; scientific education, research and development; social care; sustainable energy.

Draft Policy KNF10 introduces weight and speed limits, one-way traffic flows and improved pedestrian facilities on St Ann’s Lane.

Draft Policy KNF11 supports litter removal, footpaths, planting and future maintenance of the recreational open space between Latchmere View and the Leeds outer ring road.

Draft Policy KNF12 supports the provision of frequent outdoor play facilities throughout the neighbourhood, such that in principle there is a small outdoor play area with a swing and maybe a slide for example, within only a few minutes’ walk of every child’s home. The small local ‘walk-to’ sites will be in addition to larger ‘drive-to’ sites designed to serve a wider area. The plan will identify sites for these play facilities.

Draft Policy KNF13 seeks confirmation of all existing Kirkstall footpaths as public rights of way, and their extension, inter-linking and the creation of new accessible footpaths to serve all parts of Kirkstall Ward.

Draft Policy KNF14 supports the creation of a Kirkstall Valley Park, in partnership with the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and other environmental organisations, to link with existing public parks to the west of the River Aire and create a continuous tract of open green space between the A65 and the A647, with a new visitor centre and footbridge at St Ann’s Mills.

Draft Policy KNF15 places the principles of proportionate universalism at the core of all our planning policies. This seeks to improve everyone’s health and wellbeing, but directs the greatest efforts towards those in greatest need. This is relevant for housing policies, air pollution, traffic congestion, employment, social care and recreational open space.

Draft Policy KNF16 recognises biodiversity as a legitimate planning objective, aims to minimise the loss of existing wildlife habitats, and where possible create a greater variety of new habitats as an integral part of the development process.

Draft Policy KNF17 seeks to improve cycle provision where practical throughout Kirkstall Ward by reducing vehicle speeds in residential areas, adding cycle lanes to existing roads, 3 converting footpaths into byways, and increasing the number of secure cycle stands at popular destinations.

Draft Policy KNF18 calls on Leeds City Council and the Environment Agency to repair and enhance the penstocks near Kirkstall Abbey, and thereby raise the water level in Abbey Mill Goit to the average depth during the 19th century, or, alternatively, to devolve responsibility onto the Kirkstall Neighbourhood Forum to carry out these works on their behalf.