Frequently Asked Questions
Question
What does the term ‘Sustainable’ mean in the context of planning and development and who is responsible for the definition? 

Answer
The Government has determined the term ‘Sustainable’ and the presumption in favour of approving ‘Sustainable’ development. It is considered to mean development in the right place having regard to environment and the needs of infrastructure.



Question
What are the timescales for the plan being completed and also for the development starting? Can the developers start without there being a plan in place and what would happen then

Answer
There is nothing to stop applications for development being made and granted now. In fact, in light of the recent lost appeals and the cost this has incurred, it is unlikely that the council would overturn any more planning applications. However if there is an emerging Neighbourhood Development Plan in place, it does have to be taken into account in respect of any application, hence the need to forge ahead with the plan. 

The plan itself should be drafted by the end of 2012 but it is likely to be Spring/Summer 2013 before it has been through the statutory processes. A project plan is in place, a Statement of Community Involvement is currently out for public consultation and following the adoption of the SCI, a formal notification will be made to Leeds City Council of our intention to submit a Neighbourhood Development Plan.



Question
Who would manage the overall architecture of the development? What will stop the various developers cherry picking sites to develop and how can we ensure the required infrastructure is put in place before the development in the places where we want it rather than being slotted in around the cherry picked sites retrospectively? 

Answer
The Neighbourhood Development Plan would endeavour to put policies in place to ensure that the character and nature of any development respect the village identity and where possible extended the approved conservation areas. It is vital that developers would be required to engage with us prior to submitting planning applications, so we would have a greater input prior to the application being considered by the planning authority.



Question
What is to stop the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) being spent elsewhere and not having any impact on the local area?

Answer
The Community Infrastructure Levy has to be spent on infrastructure that is directly related to the area of development. The legislation around the CIL is quite new but it is expected that developers will have to legally sign up to this.



Question
Who decided how many houses could fit onto each of the proposed sites?

Answer
The numbers are based on an agreed methodology that has been used throughout the SHLAA process. That doesn’t mean that each site would end up with the exact number stated at present. In the case of Scholes and Barwick there is a good case for using current average housing density to inform decisions about future housing numbers in order to maintain the character of both villages. This could potentially reduce housing numbers.



Question
With so much housing, how can Scholes remain a village? How can we stop Scholes from being swallowed up in the East Leeds Extension and becoming part of Leeds rather than a village?

Answer
Firstly, the proposals for housing in our villages are just that and remain so until confirmed in the “Site Allocation” process. Most of the sites are currently protected by Green Belt Policy. Secondly, allocated sites in the East Leeds Extension are not seen as merging the urban area of Whinmoor with Scholes. Our NDP will seek to maintain a development free zone, perhaps including extensive tree planting and landscaping. We believe the inspector’s report following the former development plan inquiry is encouraging and would indicate general support for this



Question
Who is responsible for building a school and for deciding what is needed? Surely we as villagers alone cannot do this? Who will decide if a school is needed and who will pay for it?

Answer
We will submit evidence to justify any educational provision following consultation with our existing School Governors and others in the secondary sector. The final decision to build schools rests with the Local Education Authority. Land allocation on the development site or funding for any new provision will come from various sources including the Community Infrastructure levy.



Question
Will having a Neighbourhood Development Plan in place stop in-fill? A number of gardens in Scholes have been built on; can we stop this happening in the future?

Answer
Latest Government guidance is not in favour of Garden and Back Lands development. Furthermore we can also incorporate any preference for “windfall” development sites in the Neighbourhood Development Plan.



Question
In view of the forthcoming local election, could voting in another party change the plans for future development? 

Answer
No, it won’t make any difference as all of the main parties are in agreement that there is a housing need and the priority is to encourage growth in the economy.



Question
Andrew Birkbeck said that the Localism Act will give communities a greater say in their future but it actually sounds as if we are more powerless than ever.

Answer
The Government are committed to reversing the “top down approach” that is why Neighbourhood Development Plans are so important, they will have legal status and that is why people will have more power to shape the future of their communities. From our perspective what we cannot change is the need for housing development as identified by the Government and Leeds City Council. This is a separate issue to the Localism Act and the two should not be confused.



Question
If the LDF is in favour of maintaining the identity of villages, why are so many proposed houses for Scholes? Why was Scholes chosen?

Answer
The land is identified in the Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment. Land in Scholes was submitted by land owners developers and agents who have an interest in certain sites. Many sites around Scholes are already owned and have been land banked by the developers. This similarly applies to all areas throughout the metropolitan area. Many of the sites identified may not come forward and be approved as they are constrained by Green Belt or other constraints.



Question
If the plan won’t stop development or reduce the scale, are we wasting our time?

Answer
The Parish Council would not be promoting a Neighbourhood Plan if it was thought to be a waste of time. Where and how much development takes place can be influenced by policies which we can produce for our plan.



Question
How can we produce a plan if we don’t know the scale of housing that we are planning for?

Answer 
The policies which we must seek to incorporate into the plan will address the issues relating to any development proposals irrespective of exact size and scale. If sites allocated by Leeds City Council are of such a size and magnitude that they will have a significant impact on our community and Parish we should set an acceptable standard.



Question
What should we consider an acceptable housing density?

Answer
Current density in Scholes is 21 houses per hectare. This may be appropriate and could be stated in our plan.



Question
Would objecting to the development proposals still be allowed?

Answer
YES. Individuals or groups of people will still be able object to development proposals. The powers of determination will still rest with Leeds City Council as they are the Local Planning Authority. This will remain even if the Statutory Neighbourhood Development plan is adopted but the LPA will have to give considerable weight to our plan when they determine or approve applications in our Parish.



Question
How do the council plan to manage the traffic that the additional housing will generate?

Answer
All planning applications which generate significant volumes of additional traffic must include an assessment that provides information on the effects of any development would have on the immediate area and in some cases the wider highway network.



Question
What are the Parish Council and NDP Steering Group doing to help preserve and protect the green belt land around our villages?

Answer
The Parish Council and the Steering Group have already indicated that the greenbelt areas around our villages should remain as they currently are and this position remains unaltered.
 
The latest Government guidance contained in the National Planning Policy Framework affords greenbelt protection and sets out the criteria for their retention . Greenbelt reviews can occur with the authority of Planning Policy Statement 12 when the Local Development Framework process is carried forward to public inquiry conducted by an independent Inspector. The Parish Council and the Steering Group will most certainly give evidence at the inquiry and will stress the need for a permanent green belt in accordance with planning guidance. The issue of greenbelt is one of the key policies enshrined in the emerging Neighbourhood Development Plan. Your attention is drawn to the response made by the Steering Group to during the consultation period which can be found in the documents section of our website



Question
Increasing the size of a village such as Scholes by 400% would destroy the current character of the village and it would be foolish to think that a committee could wave a magic wand (Development Plan) and make the increase in size invisible. Why not create another village further up the A64 (between the Fox & Grapes pub and the A1) so that Barwick and Scholes would keep their own identities. This is what would have happened about 1000 years ago, or are we too clever to do that these days so we just towns out of villages.

Answer
The Parish Council and the Steering Group in providing the figures for potential housing development used the figures derived from the Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment. In the SHLAA, sufficient land was identified for more that 163,000 dwellings but under current policy less than half of these would be developed. From the latest information we are told that 5,000 will be built within the whole area covered by the Wetherby and Harewood Wards. This suggests the 400% increase in our Parish may not occur but we will know more when the Local Development Site Allocations are made known in a public inquiry. Meanwhile the policies which are intended to be included in the emerging Neighbourhood Development Plan could, if supported, deter development which as you rightly say would be overwhelming.



Question
I am very concerned that the Neighbourhood Plan being produced will give up the right we have under the legislation, perhaps under pressure from Leeds City Council who wishes to undertake a review of Green Belt and are considering changing the status of certain land around Barwick to PAS. I am advised by Alec Shelbrooke MP that a key objective of the Localism Bill is to protect Green Belt, so we should reject very strongly any change to the identified land by Leeds City Council. Any move from this by re-designating land as PAS will open up the flood gates for developers to look at the sites for maximum gain, and will ruin Barwick in Elmet and Scholes completely. 

Answer
We have had no confirmation that any greenbelt will be changed to Protected Areas of Search. Leeds will make their proposals clear during the site allocation process. Were they to propose a change, the Parish Council and the NDP Steering Group would undoubtedly object during the public inquiry. Your attention is drawn to the response made by the Steering Group, which can be seen in the documents section of our website.



Question
I am passionate about the area retaining its village feel. I always believed that Jack Heap's field was left to the village community as a 'green space'. In these modern times this must be protected to provide the community with a green heart, and respect for the village's ancestral history.

Answer
The emerging Neighbourhood development plan will include policies which are aimed at protecting our identity, historical heritage and significant green space including Jack Heap’s field



Question
Leeds City Council in its Core Strategy has indicated that Barwick-in-Elmet is classified as a "smaller settlement" based upon a desktop exercise of population count, and not by reference to its heritage, make up, location in rural countryside, and existing infrastructure. Barwick should be classified as a "rural village", as that best describes the village. Equally, Leeds City Council have not classified certain other villages in the NE Outer area of similar size and make up as smaller settlements, but as rural villages which is totally inconsistent. 

Answer
As much as we consider ourselves rural villages, both Barwick and Scholes fall into the criteria set out in Paragraph 4.1.10 of the published draft of the Local Development Framework core strategy which states:
 
Smaller settlements are those communities which have a population of at least 1500, a primary school and a shop or a pub”.



Question
The proposed development plans by GMI suggest that Rakehill Road might be used as the major access to the new housing. What alternatives do the NDP intend to suggest?

Answer
The Major PAS site in Scholes is not allocated at the present time. The access suggested by GMI is based on Highway data which is totally out of date. Should they wish to develop this site the application will need to be accompanied by a Traffic appraisal and impact assessment, it would not be prudent for us to suggest alternative ways to overcome problems that they will encounter at this stage.