LETTER: Battle is lost over crucial greenland

Land on Gelderd Road where a massive business park and distribution centre is planned. (17020901)
Land on Gelderd Road where a massive business park and distribution centre is planned. (17020901)

Once again Leeds City Council has dealt another blow against the quality of life for Morley people.

After years of struggling to retain 70 acres of green fields in Gildersome greedy developers have won the day.

The City Plans Panel approved an outline planning application to build a massive 80 bay distribution centre, and a large number of other industrial warehouses on the area between Dean Wood on Asquith Avenue and Gelderd Road. This land is a crucial green space buffer between Morley and Gildersome. Such areas are a finite resource and should be protected. But, basically the decision process comes down to money, power and politics.Between them the city council and developers have it all. The people of Morley and Gildersome have none - unless we withhold our council tax payments. It has been suggested! And I know where my vote won’t be going when the elections come round. At the end of the day the scenario is : Leeds City Council tick a box for employment and top up their finances with revenue from the developers. The developers blitz 70 acre of fields with metal and concrete, and certainly top up their bank balance. Both parties walk away, while the local community are left with a massive congestion nightmare, the landscape annihilated and our quality of life destroyed forever. City Plans Panel behaved like a panel of ‘yes men’. Genuine arguments regarding our road network, an increase in traffic congestion and road safety issues, especially on Asquith Avenue were completely dismissed by the Highways Department and Plans Panel.

The fact that we do not need to plough up green fields to provide employment when there empty brownfield sites at Howley Park, Capitol Park, City West and many other areas was also dismissed. These sites, and many empty warehouses in our area could, and should be used first. Plus, the infrastructure is already in place. We are supposed to have a Localism Bill which gives our community a voice. But no, in the real world of the Labour-led city council they only pay ‘lip service’ to this. The local community were given three minutes to present a case at the Plans Panel meeting. Yet we know that the developers have had numerous meetings behind closed doors, to which we were never invited. No - it’s all down to money, power and politics!

Patricia May

Gildersome Parish Councillor