Barwick and Scholes

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Ron Miller

07717 150625

r.miller10@sky.com

Scholes consultations: tomorrow, Friday (September 20) sees the first of two drop-in consultation opportunities offered to Scholes villagers by Leeds-based developers GMI Holdings. Both meetings will be held at Scholes Village Hall, with tomorrow’s running from 3-7pm and a second opportunity, on Sunday, from 10am-1pm. Invitations to attend were being delivered by the developer to every home in Scholes last week, in a bid to attract as many people to the meetings as possible. A public meeting to discuss GMI’s proposals to build up to 1,800 new homes in Scholes over the next 15 years will also be held by Barwick and Scholes Parish Council at 7pm on Tuesday, October 1 in St Philip’s Church, Scholes. Another public meeting, to discuss potential new housing developments in Barwick, as well as in Scholes, will be held on Friday, October 4. This will be a drop-in opportunity at Barwick Cricket Club between 5-8pm. Working with national housebuilders Barratt and David Wilson Homes, GMI Holdings are expected shortly to submit a planning application to Leeds City Council. Initially they will seek approval for 60 homes off Wood Lane, Scholes and for 800 homes on an 80 acre area of land to the east of existing housing in the village. Both sites are defined by the city council as Protected Areas of Search; neither lies within the existing Green Belt. In a newsletter being distributed to Scholes residents the parish council says that although a planning application has yet to be submitted, councillors feel it would be “in the residents’ best interests to engage with GMI in order to ensure that the parish council and community can influence the proposals at an early stage.” The larger site runs the entire length of the village, behind Belle Vue Avenue and the sports field and north of Rakehill Road, behind Nook Road and Arthursdale. To gain access to the smaller, five acre site near Wood Lane would require the demolition of two semi-detached houses, numbers 33 and 35 Station Road. Building would extend behind Morwick Grove and the village primary school.

‘Leave Green Belt alone’ call: Barwick and Scholes Parish Council insist that any reduction in the Green Belt will be “vigorously contested to maintain the green, agricultural buffer between the two villages.”In a firmly worded statement, parish councillors added: “This would also help prevent our villages merging into one another, thereby safeguarding the countryside from further encroachment.” Their strong opposition to losing some of the Green Belt protection from which Barwick and Scholes now benefit is a clear warning to GMI Holdings, the Leeds development company planning to build up to 1,860 new homes in Scholes during the next 15 years. Although 860 of these would be on land currently not within the Green Belt a further 1,000 homes would have to be built on what is now protected land.The resulting housing developments would stretch from Leeds Road, near the Coronation Tree, all the way to the A64 York Road. If this were to be approved by Leeds City Council many residents fear that Scholes, which now has 1,000 properties, would become a sprawling suburb three times its present size.

Scholes the next Garforth?: concern that Scholes will no longer be a village but will end up ‘the size of Garforth’ were expressed by members of Save Our Scholes at a meeting with the parish council last week. More than 20 villagers met eight parish councillors and Leeds City Council member Coun Matthew Robinson to obtain feedback from the parish council’s private, two hour meeting with GMI Holdings a few days earlier. Councillors told SOS members that the developer intends to submit an outline planning application to Leeds City Council within the next two months. Residents made it clear to councillors that they do not share what the developers call ‘a Vision for Scholes.’ They voiced their concern at the speed with which the developers have moved their proposals forward, before the city council’s site allocation process has been finalised. Also, they wanted to know why the two areas of land being targeted by GMI Holdings had been given ‘amber’ status, apparently paving the way for a planning application from GMI and its partners. A spokesman for Save Our Scholes told the Wetherby News that opportunities for residents to have a voice were being restricted, contrary to “the principals of localism which we were told would tackle the top down approach of Planning and Development.”

Harvest thanks: Scholes Methodists will celebrate the harvest with two thanksgiving services at their chapel on Sunday, September 22 at 10.30am and 6pm. Both will be conducted by the Rev John Mason and his wife Sue. Afternoon tea will be available at 4.15pm. Gifts of fruit, vegetables and non-perishable food will be welcomed; these will be donated to St George’s Crypt, Leeds. Visitors will be warmly welcomed at both services. Chapel members’ latest charity coffee morning raised £243 to support the vital work of the Yorkshire Air Ambulance.

Talking Brass: guest speaker Alan Morrison will talk about brass at Tuesday’s meeting of Barwick and Scholes Probus Club for retired or semi-retired local business people. Whether his presentation will be of a generic nature, will salute Yorkshire’s renowned brass bands, or will focus on the brass which Yorkshire folk are, by undeserved reputation, reluctant to spend, will become clear at the meeting at John Rylie House, Barwick, starting at 10.15am.

Helping local youngsters: fundraising events are to be held in Barwick on Saturday, September 28 to support two local children and their families.The first will be a coffee morning at Barwick Village Hall from 10am-noon, which will help to provide a medical alert dog to three-year-old Seth Kemp. The same evening a concert by Garforth Jazz Rock Band, also at the village hall, will support Joseph Lillywhite, aged five, who is having treatment for neuroblastoma, an aggressive form of childhood cancer. Tickets will cost £7 at the door but can be bought for £5 by contacting organiser Lesley Garbutt, tel. 07718 226128.