Campaigners fighting to stave off the threat of housing development on greenbelt land in Rawdon in north-west Leeds have called on the whole of the local community to get behind the cause.
Rawdon Billing Action Group is hoping to protect a picturesque swathe of green space known as The Billing and prevent building which they say could result in the ‘merger’ of Yeadon and Rawdon.
The owners of the land – Rawdon Trust – have been in negotiations with housebuilders and have put the land forward for inclusion in Leeds City Council’s ‘Strategic housing land availability assessment‘ – which could lead to it losing its greenbelt status.
A packed public meeting organised by the action group at St Peter’s School in Rawdon last night (Monday 9th) heard that the current state of those negotiations is unknown.
Ecological and historical value
The council’s plans are for 2,300 homes to be built in the Aireborough area (Yeadon, Rawdon and Guiseley) in the years up to 2028. The meeting heard that sites have so far been identified for less than half that number.
The campaign is going to focus on convincing the council that The Billing meets all the criteria for retaining its greenbelt status. It will be looking too at the local community’s use of the land – there are public rights of way across it – the ecological, historical and archaeological value of the site, as well as highlighting the availability of alternative brownfield sites in the area for development.
The group is urging volunteers to offer what time and help they can – from carrying out door-to-door surveys to assess community use of the land, to providing expertise on subjects like planning, transport and drainage to help with a submission the group is making to Leeds City Council.
Backing from MPs
The campaign has the backing of local MPs Greg Mulholland and Stuart Andrew. Local world champion triathletes Jonathan and Alistair Brownlee have said that development of the land “would be disastrous for the local community and for those who can see this iconic hill in the surrounding area”.
A Flickr group has been set up to collate old and new photographs to show the broad range of activities people living in the area use The Billing for.
For more information you can contact the group here.