Between 2015 and 2019, local residents successfully campaigned to oppose a housing development on a site in NW Leeds known as Tetley Field. The campaign was twofold – opposing both a planning application in the Green Belt, and the threat of the site being removed from the Green Belt altogether. Many of the posts in the “Environment” section of this blog outline my involvement in the campaign during 2016-17. By way of introduction, below is (to the best of my knowledge) a summary timeline of events.
Leeds City Council (LCC) begins a review of its Site Allocations Plan (SAP) for proposed new housing developments.
Leeds Rugby Ltd proposes a 4.5 hectare Green Belt site in Weetwood – in its ownership since the 1990s – for inclusion in the SAP. The site, known locally as Tetley Field, adjoins Meanwood Park and is much valued by local residents as part of the Green Belt and for walking, wildlife etc.
LCC assesses the site and reaffirms it as being unsuitable for housing.
Leeds Rugby informs LCC that the proceeds of any sale of Tetley Field would be used to fund the redevelopment of stands at Headingley Stadium in its ownership.
LCC overturns its initial assessment and includes Tetley Field in the draft SAP as site HG2-49, stating that it “no longer performs a Green Belt function”.
Weetwood Residents Association initiates a campaign of its members to oppose the allocation.
Leeds Rugby unveils plans to redevelop 2 stands at Headingley Stadium – the pre-war “Shared Stand” between the cricket and rugby grounds, and the “South Stand” of the rugby ground – and to finance the work through the sale of Tetley Field (and another Green Belt site in Tingley).
January: Leeds Rugby submits a planning application for 42 houses on Tetley Field, arguing that the “exceptional circumstances” required to justify development in the Green Belt are that unless permission is granted, Headingley will lose its Test Cricket status.
May: Weetwood Residents Association, with the support of other local organisations and residents, launches a Save Tetley Field Campaign. As a result of the campaign, over 1000 formal objections to the application are made, and residents are able to take legal advice.
December: The England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) confirms there is no risk to Headingley’s Test status. Soon after, Leeds Rugby withdraws the planning application.
LCC announces it has facilitated a £40m finance scheme to fund the redevelopment of the stadium.
January: Tetley Field is deleted from the SAP (see p.37 of the Modifications Document).
July: SAP adopted by LCC.
August: The stadium redevelopment is completed in time for Headingley to host a memorable Ashes Test Match, featuring a match-winning 135* by Ben Stokes.
COVID-19 pandemic. Access to local green spaces provides a life-saver for locked-down residents across the UK. Major stadia stand empty.