Open Space Shortage

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Open Space Shortage

 

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The NGT Project Board minutes1 reveal that the Board recognized that running NGT across Woodhouse Moor contravened both local and national guidance. Deputy Chief Planning Officer Stephen Speak said “it will be difficult to designate the land on Woodhouse Moor as surplus.” Acting Chief Executive of Metro, John Henkel said “it is difficult to argue the case for the land being classed as surplus.” The policies that would be contravened are N1 of the UDP and Policy 74 of the National Planning Policy Framework which states that open space should not be developed unless it’s surplus to requirements, or replaced.

Despite this, at the public inquiry, Metro claimed that Hyde Park and Woodhouse has surplus open space, and can therefore spare land on Monument Moor for NGT. When it was pointed out to Deputy Chief Planning Officer Stephen Speak that the previous week, one of his planning officer’s reports on the St Michael’s College re-development had stated, “The ward of Hyde Park and Woodhouse records one of the highest levels of greenspace deficiency across the city,” he claimed that this was an error, and that the true position was one of surplus, as shown in the Draft Site Allocation Plan2, which he waved in the air.

But just how much reliance can be placed on the Draft Site Allocations Plan? Analysis of the document shows that it contains numerous major errors in its calculation of open space provision in Hyde Park and Woodhouse ward.

Paragraph 1.2 of Leeds City Council’s Draft Site Allocations Plan states that it uses open space figures from Appendix A3 of the council’s Open Space, Sport and Recreation Assessment4 (OSSRA) published in 2011, and that it also includes some additional data.

The Draft Site Allocations Plan also states that it excludes sites that have been developed. This is incorrect as sites that have been developed have been included.

The Draft Site Allocations Plan claims that Hyde Park and Woodhouse ward has a surplus in all categories of open space except “Outdoor Sports”. But when errors within the Draft Site Allocations Plan have been corrected, Hyde Park and Woodhouse is shown to have a deficit in all categories of open space.

The map below shows the locations of several of the Hyde Park and Woodhouse sites referred to in the Draft Site Allocations Plan and also referred to in this post.

Sie Allocations map 640

Key

1.Rising Sun Public Open Space6.Cliff Road Greenspace (a)
2.Woodhouse Moor Park7.Cliff Road Greenspace (b)
3.Woodsley Road (Leeds Uni)8.Cliff Mount Fields (N6)
4.Mount Preston Street (Leeds Uni)9.Cliff Mount Fields (N1)
5.Woodhouse Lane Greenspace10.Allotments
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Parks and Gardens

The table below appears at paragraph 5.9 of the Draft Site Allocations Plan. The sections I’ve shaded yellow, indicate incorrect open space figures.

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5.9 Parks and Gardens Hyde Park and Woodhouse Ward

SITE IDSITE NAMEArea (ha)
941Cliff Mount Fields1.312
141Lovell Park1.552
159Woodhouse Moor Park19.799
1169Hartley Avenue Park1.140
918Woodhouse Street Recreation Ground0.939
391Hyde Park Rec Ground next to Mosque0.309
392Queens Road Recreation Ground0.644
170North West Road0.776
167Blackman Lane Rec1.184
393Burley Lodge0.997
Total28.652

Error 1 – Cliff Mount Fields

Under the heading, “Parks and Gardens,” Appendix A of OSSRA shows an area it calls “Cliff Mount Fields,” an area known to local residents as “Bedford Fields.” Although classified as N1 in the Unitary Development Plan, and outside the curtilage of City of Leeds School, this area has been used by the School for years for formal sports. There are goal posts and the grass is marked out as a football pitch. The satellite imagery below was made on the 29th September 2011.

City 640

The photo below, taken on 23rd September 2014, shows that the area is a sports pitch. It should therefore have been included in OSSRA under the heading “Outdoor Sports.”

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The council plan below shows that when the School became an academy on the 1st August 2014, almost all the N1 greenspace was transferred to the academy.

City Plan 640

It should be understood therefore, that Cliff Mount Fields should not have been listed under “Parks and Gardens” in the Draft Site Allocations Plan.

Error 2 – Woodhouse Moor Park

The area referred to in the table above and in OSSRA as “Woodhouse Moor Park” is the main area of Woodhouse Moor bounded by Woodhouse Lane, Clarendon Road, Moorland Road, and Hyde Park Road. It is marked “2” in red on the above map showing open space sites in Hyde Park and Woodhouse. The area called “Woodhouse Moor Park” excludes the allotments.

Blackwell’s Online Mapping Service reveals that the area of “Woodhouse Moor Park” is 18.63 hectares.

Woodhouse Moor Park 640

The above table from the Draft Site Allocations Plan claims that “Woodhouse Moor Park” contains 19.799 hectares. This figure is taken from Appendix A of OSSRA which states that “Woodhouse Moor Park” has 19.8 hectares (the area of the main part of the park after deducting the area of the allotments). This is 1.17 hectares more than was calculated by Blackwell’s Mapping Online.

The Woodhouse Moor Management Plan 20045 at the first bullet point of paragraph 5.1 on page 19, states that the main area of the park occupies 21.39 hectares. The first paragraph on page 63 states that the two areas of allotments cover 11,448 squares metres and 11,746.5 square metres. The total allotment area is therefore 2.32 hectares. This is also the figure for the allotments shown in Appendix A of OSSRA. By deducting 2.32 from 21.39, we arrive at an area of 19.07 hectares (0.73 hectares less than the figure given by OSSRA).

The OSSRA figure, and as a consequence the Draft Site Allocations Plan figure, may have been over-stated by someone mistakenly including land owned by Yorkshire Water. The discrepancy between the figure given by the Woodhouse Moor Management Plan 2004 and the figure provided by Blackwell’s Online Mapping Service is less easy to explain. However, as the Management Plan figure is the official figure and close to the Blackwell’s figure, I propose using it.

Amenity Green Space

Whereas OSSRA showed that Hyde Park and Woodhouse has a deficit in Amenity Green Space, the Draft Site Allocations Plan claims that there is a surplus. At paragraph 7.7.1, it claims that Hyde Park and Woodhouse has 0.488 hectares of Amenity Greenspace and therefore a surplus (since the standard is 0.45 hectares per 1,000 population). The Draft Site Allocations Plan has achieved this surplus by “adding” Amenity Greenspace that wasn’t included in Appendix A of OSSRA. The table below is from paragraph 7.7 of the Draft Site Allocations Plan.

7.7 Amenity Greenspace Hyde Park and Woodhouse Ward

SITE IDSITE NAMEArea (ha)
161Woodhouse Square0.256
128Hanover Square0.899
917Cliff Road Greenspace2.148
180Mount Preston Street (Leeds Uni)0.536
388Woodsley Road (Leeds Uni)1.208
390Woodhouse Lane Greenspace1.525
342Woodhouse Cliff0.260
1822Willow Road – Rising Sun POS0.854
165Carlton Gate – Little London0.964
168Meanwood Road1.042
176Servia Gardens0.349
173Oatland Towers0.543
174Bagby Fields0.697
189Blenheim Square0.599
1889St Marks Road0.774
Total12.654
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Areas included in the Draft Site Allocations Plan that weren’t included in OSSRA are as follows:

  1. The area of Oatland Towers has been increased from the 0.36 hectares shown in Appendix A of OSSRA to 0.543 hectares.
  2. St Mark’s Road with its 0.774 hectares has been included. It was omitted from OSSRA perhaps because it fell under the category SLOAP described at paragraph 2.22 on page 16 of OSSRA. SLOAP stands for “Space Left Over After Planning.”
  3. Willow Road – Rising Sun POS has been included, even though the part of this open space in Hyde Park and Woodhouse ward is a fenced off, locked up sports pitch, as shown in the photograph below, taken on the 22nd September 2014. Furthermore, the Draft Site Allocations Plan double counts this area by also including it under the category “Outdoor Sports.”

Despite the addition of the above listed areas, correction of errors in both OSSRA and the Draft Site Allocations Plan reveals that Hyde Park and Woodhouse still has a deficit in Amenity Green Space.

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Error 3 – Mount Preston Street (Leeds Uni)

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Appendix A of OSSRA includes “Mount Preston Street (Leeds Uni)” This area should not have been included as it had already been entirely built on when OSSRA was published in July 2011. The photo below shows the area as it was on the 1st June 2008:

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The photograph below was taken on the 23rd September and shows the area in question as it is now and has been since 2010.

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Error 4 – Woodsley Road (Leeds Uni)

Appendix A of OSSRA includes in Hyde Park and Woodhouse a site it calls “Woodsley Road (Leeds Uni).” The local community calls this area “the former Grammar School cricket pitch.” Leeds University calls it “the Western Campus.” Woodsley Rd (Leeds Uni) is a new name coined by Leeds City Council. It’s included in the above table because OSSRA lists it as “Amenity Green Space.” However, most of it had been built on when OSSRA was published in July 2011. In mid 2014, half the remaining area was built on. This photograph taken on the 23rd September 2014 shows the new buildings and access roads and the small area of Amenity Green Space that remains.

SONY DSC

To calculate the area of Amenity Green Space that remains, first I imported a satellite image of the site into Photoshop (see image below). Then I shaded red the triangular area of remaining open space, and used Photoshop to count the number of red pixels. Then I shaded the Marks and Spencer Archive building (shown top right in the above photo) in blue, and counted how many blue pixels there were. The plan that was submitted with the planning application to build the Marks and Spencer Archive, (drawing A-03-P-00G of application 09/02237/OT) shows that the size of the Archive building was 49.19 meters x 20.29 meters, or 998 square metres (0.0998 hectares). Using this figure, and the relative number of red (4,945) and blue (4,125) pixels, I was able to work out the size of the remaining open space using this sum:

0.0998 x 4,945 = 0.12

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4,125

This shows that of the original playing field, which had N6 protection in the Unitary Development Plan, and which Appendix A of OSSRA shows as having 1.21 hectares, just one tenth of the original area remains. So the correct amount of Amenity Green Space at the Woodsley Road (Leeds Uni) site is 0.12 hectares.

Western 640

The above satellite image shows the Woodsley Road (Leeds Uni) site before the latest building was built. The area edged in red shows the 0.12 hectares of remaining green space.

Error 5 – Willow Road Public Open Space

Willow Road – Rising Sun POS has been included in the Draft Site Allocations Plan, even though the part of this open space in Hyde Park and Woodhouse ward is a fenced off, locked up sports pitch, as shown in the photograph below, taken on the 22nd September 2014. Furthermore, it is also double counted in the Draft Site Allocations Plan under the category “Outdoor Sports.”

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SONY DSC

Correcting the Amenity Green Space Errors

If we exclude from the total 12,654 hectares, the Mount Preston Street and Woodsley Road sites (0.536 and 1.208 hectares), because they’ve been built on, and the Willow Road – Rising Sun POS (0.854 hectares) because it’s a sports pitch, and is already included in the Draft Site Allocations Plan under the category “Outdoor Sports”, we’re left with a revised total of 10.056 hectares.

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If we divide 10.056 hectares by the 2011 population of 25,914, we get 0.39 hectares per 1,000 population.

If we divide 10.056 hectares by the mid 2012 population estimate of 26,735, we get 0.38 hectares per 1,000 population.

Since the standard is 0.45 hectares per 1,000 population, it’s clear that Hyde Park and Woodhouse has a shortage of Amenity Green Space.

Outdoor Sports

The table below appears at paragraph 6.7 of the Draft Site Allocations Plan.

6.7 Outdoor Sports Provision Hyde Park and Woodhouse Ward

SITE IDSITE NAME
941Cliff Mount Fields
175Cambridge Road
159Woodhouse Moor Park
1822Willow Road – Rising Sun POS
172Little London Playing Area
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Below is the table at paragraph 6.7.1 of the Draft Site Allocations Plan. It claims to show the sports provision at the above sites.

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TypeNo.Area (ha)
Adult Pitches44.8
Junior Pitches00
Cricket Pitches00
Tennis Courts30.223
Bowling Green34.11
Synthetic Pitches00
Total109.133
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The figures given in the table are wrong.

Error 6 – the number of tennis courts and their area

There are six tennis courts on Woodhouse Moor, not three as claimed in the table. A tennis court measures 23.77 x 8.23 metres. That’s 195.63 square metres. The six courts on Woodhouse Moor would therefore occupy 1,173.76 square metres. This equates to 0.12 hectares.

Error 7 – the area covered by the bowling greens

The assertion that the three bowling greens covered 4.11 hectares is incorrect. A bowling green is 38.4 metres x 38.4 metres. This equates to 1,474.56 square metres. This means that the three bowling greens on Woodhouse Moor covered 4,424 square metres. This is equivalent to 0.44 hectares.

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Of the three bowling greens on Woodhouse Moor, two were decommissioned well over a year ago. This means that the figure for bowling greens in the table above should be 0.15 hectares.

Error 8 – the inclusion of educational outdoor sports provision

Whereas the standard for Outdoor Sports provision set by OSSRA was 1.85 hectares per 1,000 population, the standard set in the table at paragraph 4.4.1 of the Draft Site Allocations Plan is 1.2 hectares per 1,000 population. But the table also states that this figure excludes education provision.

We now need to find the correct figure for Outdoor Sports provision (excluding education provision) for Hyde Park and Woodhouse. Here is a corrected version of the above table.

TypeNo.Area (ha)
Adult Pitches3 (?)3.49
Junior Pitches00
Cricket Pitches00
Tennis Courts30.12
Bowling Green10.15
Synthetic Pitches00
Total73.76

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The figures in the above table were produced by deducting the 1.31 hectares at Cliff Mount Fields, which were transferred to City of Leeds School on the 1st August 2014 and by replacing the incorrect figures for the tennis courts and bowling greens, with the correct figures. I should state at this points that I’ve been unable to verify the original figure of 4.8 hectares for adult pitches. Because I don’t know how the figure is made up, I’ve accepted it as being correct.

Paragraph 6.7.2 of the Draft Site Allocations Plan asserts that Hyde Park and Woodhouse has 0.352 hectares of Outdoor Sports provision per 1,000 population (using the 2011 census figure). This is arrived at by dividing the incorrect total of 9.133 hectares by the 2011 population of 25,914.

The correct provision using the 2011 census population, is arrived at by dividing 3.76 hectares by 25,914. This gives a figure of 0.145 hectares per 1,000 population.

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OSSRA was a PPG17 study, and didn’t “double count” open space. The Draft Site Allocations Plan on the other hand, repeatedly double counts open space. The tennis courts and bowling greens on Woodhouse Moor had already been included as part of “Woodhouse Moor Park” under the category “Parks and Gardens.” Similarly, Willow Road – Rising Sun POS had already been included under the category “Amenity Greenspace.”

Natural Greenspace

This is the table that appears at paragraph 10.8 of the Draft Site Allocations Plan.

Natural Greenspace Hyde Park and Woodhouse Ward

SITE IDSITE NAMEAREA (HA)
160Woodhouse Ridge5.024
Total5.024

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Error 9 – the area of Woodhouse Ridge inside Hyde Park and Woodhouse ward

It’s incorrect to say as the table above does, that the area of Woodhouse Ridge inside Hyde Park and Woodhouse ward is 5.024 hectares. If this were true, it would be bigger than Cinder Moor and Monument Moor combined. By looking at the council’s map (below) of Hyde Park and Woodhouse ward, we see that the area of Woodhouse Ridge inside the ward is smaller than Cinder Moor and Monument Moor combined.

Woodhouse Cliff 640

Paragraph 10.8.1 of the Draft Site Allocations Plan divides the claimed 5.024 hectares by the 2011 population of 25,914 to arrive at a figure (incorrect) of 1.93 hectares per 1,000 population.

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Error 10 – an arithmetical error calculating the provision on natural greenspace

Paragraph 10.8.2 claims that because the standard is 0.7 hectares per 1,000 population, this means that Hyde Park and Woodhouse has a surplus of Natural Greenspace.

Firstly, dividing 5.024 hectares by 25,914 people does not produce 1.93 hectares per 1,000 population. It produces 0.193 hectares per 1,000 population. So Hyde Park and Woodhouse quite definitely has a deficit of Natural Greenspace.

Secondly, the Draft Site Allocations Plan gives no reason for changing the standard from 2 hectares per 1,000 population, a standard which is recommended by Natural England and which was adopted by OSSRA.

I calculated the area of Woodhouse Ridge using the same method set out on page 14 above. Monument Moor and Cinder Moor together cover 4.35 hectares. When I shaded them in Photoshop, the shaded area had 16,883 pixels. When I shaded the area of Woodhouse Ridge inside the ward, it had 12,165 pixels. I was able to calculate the area of Woodhouse Ridge inside the ward by using this sum:

4.35 x 12,165 = 0.12

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16,883

To find the correct provision for Hyde Park and Woodhouse in 2011, we need to divide 3.13 hectares by the 2011 population of 25,914. This gives us provision of Natural Greenspace of 0.12 hectares per 1,000 population. This is greatly less than the Draft Site Allocations Plan reduced standard of 0.7 hectares per 1,000 population.

Conclusion

In the overall summary of the Draft Site Allocations Plan it says of Hyde Park and Woodhouse at paragraph 6.8, “Overall this ward is generally well provided for in terms of greenspace typologies.” As demonstrated above, the opposite is true.

References