WHAT IS BETTER WETHERBY?
Welcome to the website of the Better Wetherby Partnership.
We are a consortium of local people from a variety of organisations who contribute to initiatives designed to help make Wetherby and the surrounding villages better for the community of both current and future generations. A current focus is our concern about the negative impact on Wetherby and the local environment resulting from large-scale house building. See About Us for further details
Our aim is to ensure that all new developments respect the community-led sense of place we currently enjoy, whilst contributing positively towards the local economy, character and scale of our historic and attractive market town.
Chairmans Message - July 2020:
Welcome to our latest Newsletter. Judging by the response to our last edition, many of you were impressed by our determination to keep going through the current crisis. Thanks for your good wishes, all at BW appreciate them. What has also been particularly pleasing is the receipt of several monetary donations, very kind.
A number of ongoing matters are covered in the Newsletter, especially the issue of Racecourse Approach, which I feel will feature large over the coming months. Recently the Aireborough Neighbourhood Forum challenged the whole Leeds Site Allocation Inquiry decision around the allocation of Green Belt land and won their case in the High Court, although the Judge is yet to hand down his decision. They are now challenging all Green Belt allocations in Leeds on the grounds the Inquiry decision was wrong in Law. Although the Racecourse Approach site is not Green Belt, the challenge by the Aireborough could have major ramifications for Leeds, so BW will be keeping a close watch on this.
BW aims to challenge the conditions imposed on the Planning Application for Racecourse Approach when the matter progresses. To do so we will need substantial funds to employ experts to support our case. The Aireborough Neighbourhood Forum actually raised in the order of £60,000 to fund their case, so this gives an indication of the type of funds we may need. If you can contribute it would be appreciated. Details of how to contribute are shown in the Newsletter.
At BW we are moving forward, even via Zoom! Personally I am looking forward to meeting colleagues face to face again before too much longer. In the meantime, thanks for reading, stay safe.
Roger Owen; Chair
Better Wetherby Partnership
Chairmans Message - May 2020:
Welcome to the latest Newsletter from the Better Wetherby Partnership. Yes we're still here and active! Since my election to Chair in February life has changed in so many ways and although Members of BW have been observing Government Guidance in all respects we have kept busy as the content of this Newsletter will show. Seeking to make Wetherby and surrounding villages better for current and future generations remains at the top of our priorities.
These are dark times and for those of you who have suffered illness at home or been hospitalised and now recovering or under treatment we send our best wishes. For those who may have lost family, loved ones or someone close we send our deepest sympathy.
However, to paraphrase Her Majesty the Queen and Captain, now Sir Tom Moore, we will get through this and we will meet again. I have seen something of this spirit in Wetherby over recent weeks, the sterling efforts of our butchers, bakers, hardware stores, greengrocers, banks, chemists, newsagents, filling stations and supermarkets have all made a great contribution. Social distancing for me has lead to conversations with those 2 metres away who I had never met before, helped by the dry if cold weather, shop assistants saying “Don't stand out in the cold, come round to the side door and order there”. The checkout operators at Morrisons singing 'We'll meet again' on VE Day. A super spirit which I hope will remain as we start to see a slow easing of the rules that we have obeyed for over two months now.
Over the period I had hoped to take forward the great work of BW and by now have outlined the future as we see it at a public meeting - but that will have to wait. In the interim BW continues. We have challenges to face, the proposed development at Racecourse Approach, The Leeds Council Climate Emergency and its effect on Wetherby and planned developments, public transport, road congestion, air quality and other topics where I believe BW can and will be a leading force for improving our community.
Now for the kicker, as marketing people put it. Last winter saw BW play a pivotal role in defeating the Appeal by Stockeld Estate / Hallam Land against the refusal of Harrogate Borough to grant planning consent for 210 houses, this would have had a significant effect on Wetherby. We achieved our victory by the efforts of BW but one individual in particular, Paul Crossan who “played a blinder”. We did all this on a financial shoestring and if we are to ensure that we hold the relevant bodies to account in future in order to get the right development in the right place and avoid the wrecking of our quality of life in this lovely town, we need money. Money to enable us to employ the best quality professional advice and money to make our message heard in a wider audience. There are details in the newsletter about how you can help us, please give our messages and our work some serious thought and join the cause, you never know, you may find your contribution more rewarding than yet another jigsaw puzzle.
Thanks for reading, stay safe.
Roger Owen; Chair
Better Wetherby Partnership
Racecourse Approach to be considered at Plans Panel on Thursday Aug 6th
A copy of the Chief Planning Officers report for the Thursday meeting is available here. The Chair of the committee has yet again decided to exclude any comments from the public or interested parties such as Better Wetherby. You can view the full agenda, and should be able to remotely attend the meeting via this link
BW believe that the current scheme would contravene the Leeds Site Allocation Plan (LSAP), the Wetherby Neighbourhood Plan and also National Planning Policy. We believe that Wetherby residents must be allowed a say in this development to ensure that it is and integral and sustainable part of our town. The current proposal from Taylor Wimpey, which is only for part of the site approved within the LSAP, clearly fails in many aspects, and as such should be refused, as we indicate in our latest communication with the planners. We do not believe that TW's threat of a legal challenge should stop the Plans Panel from making the right decision to refuse this particular application.
See some of the Latest Objections to Racecourse Approach
This link shows a selection of objections and gives details on how you can register your opinion. One noteworthy objection provides a comprehensive response to the 'latest' information from the Leeds Planners and Taylor Wimpey.
Tempo FM interview - Monday 27-Jul-2020
Our chairman, Roger Owen appeared on local radio to discuss the latest situation regarding Racecourse Approach with Paul Richardson. You can hear the interview here, recording provided courtesy of Tempo 107.4 FM, Wetherby" (if you have difficulty playing above link, please try playing it here)
Racecourse Approach Update - 23-Jul-2020
We have sent this newsletter to our supporters following receipt of Leeds CC letter announced their intention to convene another Plans Panel meeting on 6th August. It is our belief that approval of the planning application as it stands will call into question the relevance of the Site Allocation Plan and undermine the whole ethos of the planning process.
We encourage people who have objected previously and others who may not yet have done so but are concerned about this application, to also make their concerns known in writing to Leeds Planners by 4th August.
Objections can be made online at by logging into the planning portal at this link. For your reference, we have a uploaded a selection of current objections to the site here
Racecourse Approach Update
BW have just heard that this application will be considered again at a Plans Panel meeting on July 16th. Please see our special newsletter for further details. At this meeting the plans were deferred for further consultation following representations from Better Wetherby, as indicated to our supporters in an email on 15th July:-
Further to the recently circulated Better Wetherby (BW) newsletter about the Racecourse Approach application, we wish to inform you of a change in the situation. Following representations by BW and discussions with Leeds City Council planning officials, information has been received that it is now likely that the application will be deferred at the Plans Panel meeting on Thursday, 16th July. This is to allow further public consultation to be carried out. However, this needs to be confirmed and agreed by Members at the meeting on Thursday.
Newsletter July 2020
Better Wetherby recently sent out this newsletter to all our contacts - please drop us an email if you wish to receive all future newsletters and be added to our contact list.
A full list of Press Releases and Newsletters is available here.
We have also added a page with links to news articles related to our work
A recent article in the Yorkshire Post provides some insight into the thinking of Leeds Planning department who are now turning down significant planning proposals that do not provide public transport connections.
Given the lack of public transport, and the remoteness of the Racecourse Approach site it is interesting to ponder:
Feb 2020 - Stockeld Inquiry Result
Better Wetherby, together with Harrogate Borough Council, have been succesful in opposing Stockeld Estates appeal to build more houses on the border of Wetherby. see our Public Inquiry page which provides details of the proceedings over the four days of the Inquiry, and also the newsletter sent to our supporters
Many thanks to all our supporters for their comments, we have collated a few here. Thanks also to CPRE for their recent article and ongoing support. You can view other press comments here.,
Better Wetherby needs financial support to pay for expert consultants and generally fund our wider efforts on behalf of the local community. Public support is essential to increase the chance of success and help protect our community. Please see Donations page for further details.
We welcome further volunteers and supporters to assist our endeavours. Please contact us with any comments and queries. If you wish to be included on our mailing list please send a request by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.