Is this Meanwood Valley open space worth protecting?

Do you know that plans to redevelop Headingley Stadium also threaten an existing open space in the Meanwood Valley? This initial blog asks if this site is worth protecting in its current form.

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What is being proposed?

On 28 January Leeds Rugby Ltd and Yorkshire County Cricket Club (I’ll call them “Leeds Rugby”) released plans for the redevelopment of both the rugby and cricket grounds at Headingley Stadium. Alongside the plans for the Stadium itself are additional plans for developing housing at two sites currently in the ownership of Leeds Rugby, in Weetwood and Tingley; 42 houses are proposed on the 4.5 hectare (11 acre) site in Weetwood. The plans state that the sale of these two sites would contribute to the investment needed for the Stadium redevelopment.

Before being purchased by Leeds Rugby as a training facility, the site in Weetwood was known as the Tetley Sports Ground – I’ll call it the “Tetley site”. A formal planning application from Leeds Rugby to Leeds City Council to build the housing on the Tetley site is expected in the near future.

Where is the Tetley site?

Do you know the Tetley site? If not, it is normally accessed on foot from the right of way between Weetwood Avenue and Weetwood Mill Lane. It is also possible to access it from behind the duckpond in Meanwood Park. Online, you can type “Beckside Gardens Weetwood” into Google Maps to see where it is. Much of the site is surrounded by an iron fence but there are well established gaps in the fence that allow access.

What is the Tetley site like?

Well, this is a matter of opinion, and the purpose of this blog is to encourage local people to form and express an opinion. In my view, it’s an attractive open space with an appealing “wild” character, particularly for an urban area. Any signs that it was once used as a sports ground are now long gone. It has now very much “gone back to nature”, and while much of the site is of open character, there are some mature trees with many younger trees developing – see the following set of photos I took earlier this week:

To me, the Tetley site as it is now is not only visually attractive but is also an important urban wildlife refuge. On my recent visit I saw a heron and heard a woodpecker amongst the early-morning birdsong. Also, the fact that numerous paths cross the site demonstrate that it is well used and appreciated by local people, whether it’s dog walkers doing a lap of the field or ramblers or runners crossing the site as part of a longer route. Any development on the site would clearly threaten all of this.

What do you think?

It would be interesting to know if other people share my opinion about the Tetley site. If you know the site already, how do you feel about the views, the sense of space, the wildlife, the quiet? If you don’t know it, get your boots or wellies on (the paths are pretty muddy at the moment!) and take a walk down there.

In my next blog in a few days time I’ll suggest some ways in which people concerned about development on the Tetley site can make their views heard.

7 thoughts on “Is this Meanwood Valley open space worth protecting?

  1. I agree with everything you say here! We use the field daily for dog walking and as we live adjacent to the field, we see on a daily basis not only how many people use the field, but how much wildlife there is. Thank you for setting up the blog – it is really important to keep the communication levels high in every way we can!

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    • Many thanks for your comment Roz. Glad to hear that you value the field on a day to day basis, and hope to follow up this initial blog with further thoughts shortly.

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  2. I too agree with everything you say, I have lived in and loved this area of Weetwood/ Meanwood for 36 years and am very sad at the thought of losing this beautiful natural wild area! I see the heron most days, hear the owls often when walking my dog late in the evening, I have seen deer in the field and the Red Kite regularly fly over the field. It will be a very sad day if Leeds City Council give the go ahead for the building of 42 houses on this site.

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  3. Just another thought following the two comments received, on terminology. I’ve referred to this open space as the “Tetley site”, but on reflection I see that this suggests that it is just a place awaiting development. Both commenters have referred to a field, which actually better reflects its existing value for wildlife and recreation. So I’m tempted to use the expression “Tetley Field” from now on, unless it is better known colloquially as something else. Any comments on this appreciated! Thanks, Dave

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  4. I have just written a song about the Tetley Field and published it on you tube. I refer to it in my song as The Golden Field. You can find the song on YouTube by googling The Tetley Field Song.
    Maria Sandle

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    • That’s ace Maria! I’ll tweet about it and I note it’s been shared on the Facebook page too. Thanks so much for your support. Dave

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