Save Red Hall Playing Fields

Keep Red Hall green

Approval for Fields to Be ‘Disposed’ Will Happen Today

‘We’re not going to get to where we need to be without making some very deep and very significant changes to the way we live’

– Cllr Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council, Executive Board meeting, 7th Jan 2020

In an Executive Board meeting happening now, a curious thing will happen.

Leeds will approve disposal of Red Hall Playing Fields – a local amenity and key biodiversity asset – immediately prior to reviewing its response to the climate emergency.

In item 20, Leeds will approve “disposal” of the Red Hall estate. That will include the fields and the area to the rear of Red Hall itself. The land, after sale, will no longer be public land. Any green space on it will be pseudo-public space, at best leased back to the council from whatever developer buys it. Our councillors have pledged their help in ensuring that as much of the fields as possible will remain green space, but in practice the Leeds position has never shifted: there will be two playing pitches, for sports provision only, and we will lose our amenity space.

In item 21, Leeds will review its response to the climate emergency. It says this about biodiversity:

Biodiversity is being critically affected by a combination of climate change and changes in land use. These changes both impact upon the quality of our lives and those of generations to come but also upon the stability of the ecosystem. Addressing the issues of landscape and biodiversity presents the opportunity to offset some of the remaining carbon in production but also to enhance wildlife and improve the public experience. A combination of developing woodland on our own holdings, together with work with other land owners are set to bring forward millions of trees in the next thirty years. A further report will be brought to the Executive Board in the summer regarding the council’s contribution to the Northern Forest. The council also has a specific programme to develop green spaces in the city centre as it becomes a major residential centre, shifting its emphasis towards encouraging biodiversity.

History will record that Leeds built a dual carriageway over its own public green space and then divested itself of the remainder for the benefit of developers at a time when an entire continent was on fire. It will justify this by saying that a capital receipt was required to keep “certain services” running. These are no doubt difficult decisions, but it will remain the opinion of the people behind our campaign that as a city, we continued with 1970s policies that induced traffic demand and made a parlous situation worse at a time when our planet demanded better.

ELOR Planning Application 17/04351/LA Open for Comments

The planning application for the East Leeds Orbital Road is now in. You can comment on the application by visiting the Leeds Planning Portal and searching for reference 17/04351/LA. If you need more help, read our guide on how to comment on a planning application.

This road will take 6.58 hectares of the 11.0 hectares available from the fields.

You have until 29th August to comment.

Below you can find Kate’s notes from a special meeting of the Whinmoor Forum regarding ELOR and a flyover of the proposed route.

Needless to say, we have some concerns.

Kate’s notes

Dear All,

Here are some notes I made at the special meeting of the Whinmoor Neighbourhood Forum on 31st July. Councillor Gruen chaired the meeting and presentations were given by Adam Brannen, LCC head of regeneration, and Paul Russell, LCC principal engineer at Highways.

Adam Brannen introduced the East Leeds Extension (ELE) and the East Leeds Orbital Route (ELOR). He said that “ELOR is a key requirement of the housing allocation” which means that they need to build the road before they can build the houses. There are 5000 homes estimated in the allocation for the East Leeds Extention (ie. the land from Red Hall all the way round Crossgates to Thorpe Park).

Adam said that the economic modelling shows that there will 6000 new jobs in the city as a result of ELE and ELOR. There will be a new railway station and park & ride at Thorpe Park. There will be improvements to the bus network and cycleway.

The Red Hall development: there is a total capacity for 350 new homes at Red Hall – 300 on the nursery site and 50 on the playing fields. They are thinking of shifting the balance further (ie. more homes on the nursery and few homes on the playing field) when a developer comes on board.

He confirmed that Red Hall Lane will not become a through road on the Red Hall site. It will be a through lane for pedestrians and cyclists and possibly buses but not other vehicles.

The Northern Quadrant (2000 houses between A58 and A64). It looks like it will be still be a good 2 years before house building starts.

The ELOR will be built regardless of whether the houses are built or not. The Council will be paying initially for the ELOR. The developers will ultimately pay for the ELOR via a roof tax.

There will be an “uplift” factored in so over time this roof tax will increase (I think I understood this correctly).

Paul Russell from Highways talked about the details of the ELOR construction:

There will be a downgrading and enhancement of the existing Outer Ring Road. In advance of ELOR construction, there will be some work to improve the Roundhay Park junction, and the A61 and King Lane roundabouts, also the turn off to Shadwell. This work can proceed without the need for planning permission as it is counted as “permitted development” and should begin early next year. However, the A58/ORR roundabout is not included in this programme of works and will only be considered for improvement after the ELOR is built. Councillor Gruen thought that this was not satisfactory and said that he will recommend that this junction is improved early on along with the others.

Paul Russell said that the aim of ELOR was to support the wider regeneration of East Leeds, and the building of housing, improve connectivity, provide high quality infracstructure, reduce congestion and remove traffic from the urban areas. There would be high quality landscaping and sustainable drainage ponds on the northern side to deal with the water runoff. There would be greenspace and green screening along the whole of the northern outer edge. On the southern side there would be a 2 metre “bund” (earth mound) with trees on top (eventually) and he thought that this would provide better screening visually than the green screening that is planned for the northern side. None of these techniques would screen out the noise though (I think I understood this correctly).
There would be three trees replaced for every tree felled in the construction process.

Red Hall Lane (East) junction with the A58: this will now be kept open (a couple of years ago they were talking about closing this).

There will be formal, segregated cycleway and footway along the sound side of ELOR with 24 hour lighting. On the north side there will be a more informal pathway accessible for horseriding. There will also be pockets of greenspace, including a country park along the northern edge. The crossing over to Winn Moor Lane will be a “green bridge” the footway of which will wind down into what is now the wood yard (which will be landscaped with mounds and I think also a drainage pond). To access the country park, further round nearer the A64, there will be an underpass – which will include a boggy drainage pond.

About the traffic modelling – Paul says it really does work and shows that traffic will flow. (I’m concerned about the ELOR roundabouts particularly where the ELOR meets the existing ORR. Traffic will naturally have to slow down at these junctions so if there is any congestion, then people will be looking for other routes to cut through…)

He said also that they haven’t included the possibility of a congestion charge in the city centre in the modelling.

Construction of ELOR should begin early 2019 with the aim to finish in early 2021.

That is all I have in my notes – I think there were other things raised which I didn’t get down. I would have asked about pollution issues (both noise and fumes) but we ran out of time.

Neither Adam nor Paul would confirm if this planning application for the ELOR will go to a public inquiry for independent assessment. At the moment the council is the both the “applicant” and the judge – it is applying to itself for planning permission. I have already spotted some little errors in the landscape analysis submitted by the contractor Mouchel, but I don’t understand the traffic modelling or the finances underpinning it (seems very dependent on house prices and whether people are prepared to pay thousands extra in “roof tax” when they buy one of these houses). Also Leeds City Council has just revised down the figure of total housing that it needs to plan for until 2028 from 70, 000 to 55,000 homes, so the housing numbers as a whole planned for the East Leeds will need to be reassessed. So my response to the ELOR planning application will be that while I support the aims of development and the necessary improvements to road infrastructure, this planning application shouldn’t be approved until there has been a full public inquiry, classing my response as an “objection” to increase the pressure on the Council for independent scrutiny.

The council seem very keen to answer questions – so do email Also there is more information at including an animated ELOR “fly-through” (doesn’t show the new housing, though, or any vehicles!).

Best wishes


East Leeds Orbital Road Flyover

Picnic on the Fields, July 8th, 1pm – Have a Field Day!

All over the country on July 8th people are coming together in their local parks for Fields In Trust’s event “Have a Field Day”.

With summer already scorching, why not join us on the fields for a picnic on July 8th 2017 at 1pm? Just bring some food, ice-cold drinks, something to sit on, and yourselves. We’ve got a few frisbees, footballs and a junior cricket set but if you’ve got something else you want to bring to play with that’d be very welcome.

This event is being organised by Fields in Trust, 38 Degrees, and Parkrun (and us!).

From the 38 Degrees Have a Field Day FAQ:

Why are 38 Degrees getting involved in Have a Field Day?

Britain’s parks are at risk. There’s no legal responsibility to look after them and squeezed budgets mean our local green spaces – from playgrounds, to the park you relax in on your lunch break – don’t have the money they need. We could end up being forced to pay to use our parks – or lose them altogether.

Together, we’ve been taking big strides in saving Britain’s parks. Over 300,000 of us signed a petition calling on the government to legally protect all parks. An influential group of MPs – the Communities and Local Government Committee – invited us to meet them in parliament. The committee published a report agreeing with us that parks are at risk and if we don’t do anything about it, they might not be there for future generations. But they stopped short of backing our call for more legal protection.

This is the next step in the same campaign – working with Fields in Trust to get our local green spaces protected means we can safeguard them for future generations … without needing the help of MPs!

Ward Boundary Changes Threaten Red Hall Representation

Labour councillors want shot of us – reply to the consultation and don’t lose your representation!

As you probably know, we’ve been working with our Labour councillors to try and save more of the green space we use locally. Recently, in a planning update meeting, they’ve been pretty helpful.

So it’s a bit of a surprise that they’ve not let us know that they intend to move us away from their representation to the Conservative-run Harewood ward, who are very much in favour of as much development as possible happening here. They’re also moving the Northern Quadrant into the Harewood ward, even though that development would be adjacent to Cross Gates and Whinmoor housing and divided from the Harewood ward by a dual carriageway.

Spot the difference – consultation running now

A consultation is running over the holiday period. Let the boundary commission know that our concerns around semi-urbanised Red Hall are not the same concerns as the millionaires in the countryside of Scarcroft, and that gerrymandering to make residents’ concerns less represented by leaving us to the minority party is not acceptable.

You’ll have less influence over what happens in with development in this area if you’re represented by minority Conservative councillors in Harewood.

Points to make

Here are some points you might want to make, and they’ll be in our submission:

  • We have been working closely with Labour councillors on our local green space/development issues
  • The community centre in which we meet would be separated from us by the A58, and residents west of the A58 would no longer be able to attend the Whinmoor community forum, which genuinely does represent our local concerns
  • One of the councillors for Harewood, is very much in support of the “Leeds stops here” line of thinking, and lives to the north of the proposed ELOR dual carriageway boundary, whose concerns are very different from – and some would say diametrically opposed to – ours around Red Hall
  • We would be separated completely from our “new” ward by that dual carriageway
  • We will be in a Conservative ward but a Labour constituency
  • It will change ward-based reports with respect to green space provision and distort the local picture – which is one of deficiency – by presenting an overly positive picture of green space which is in reality located miles to the north of us on the other side of that dual carriageway
  • Remaining Cross Gates and Whinmoor residents’ ability to comment on and influence the massive development on their doorstep will be drastically reduced

Planning Update Meeting – Kate’s Notes

Last week, we met with councillors and council officers to discuss a planning brief update. Disappointingly, despite council officers being keen to point out that they have listened to results of the consultation, we were presented with the same document we saw years ago, with some added pink sight lines from Historic England. The fields will still be cut to less than a third of their current size and there is no movement on selling less of the fields. The council’s plan is to sell the whole site to developers and leave greenspace in their hands – leasing back our own public land to us.

Councillors Pauleen Grahame and Peter Gruen were in attendance, and expressed broad support for losing less of the fields and dismay at the uncertainty the outline plan perpetuates.

Here are Kate’s notes, sent to the mailing list (if you’re not on it and would like to be, drop a note to the Friends’ mailing list).

Dear All,

Please find attached a copy of the document that was handed out at last Tuesday’s meeting regarding plans for development at Red Hall. There was a “round table” discussion of the issues raised with councillors and planning officers. They were keen to emphasize that this document doesn’t set out a “masterplan” (that comes later) and that it sits alongside other guidance documents.

The document doesn’t state the total number of houses planned for Red Hall but Mark Mills from the Planning Department tells me that the total is likely to be 350 – 300 units on the nursery site and 50 on the playing field.

Mark Mills also talked about the relationship between the listed buildings and any future development. Historic England’s position is that having sensitive areas doesn’t mean that you can’t have development, but that there should be extra care taken to ensure that key views and open spaces are preserved.

The playing field greenspace area would be reduced to one third of what it is now – mainly the area to the front of the house (currently fenced off).

The document gives the impression that Red Hall Lane will become a through road to the Outer Ring Road. Councillor Gruen stated “A through road would be a total disaster”. He also said that he personally would be prepared to see more houses behind the house (ie. on the nursery site) and fewer on the playing field.

The walking route through Red Hall Wood to Roundhay Park will be conserved as will the current footpath across the field – although again these are not totally clear from this document.

Peter Gruen also said that he would like to see not simply what he called a “gated community” but also provision for the elderly such as bungalows – which might be suitable on Red Hall Playing Field itself.

In the short term, the site will be vacated and cleared next year. I asked for more information about plans to secure the site and Peter Gruen supported that call – so hopefully we’ll get that soon.

If anybody has any questions or concerns, do email the Planning Department

Best wishes


Red Hall Planning Brief Update - Tuesday 15th November 4.30pm - 6.30pm

We’ve received an invitation to attend an update on the Red Hall Playing Fields planning brief, with a round table discussion.

It will be at Wellington Hill Residents’ Association at 16.30 to 18.30 (with the discussion at 17.30) on Tuesday 15th November.

Please do come if you can – we realise it’s early but we’ll make it clear that some of you may arrive late due to work. We hope you can make it for the discussion.

The full letter is below: –

Dear Friends of Red Hall Playing Fields

As you will recall during the consultation earlier in the year the Council committed to hold a further discussion with the local residents about the Red Hall Planning Brief.

The comments received through consultation have now been reviewed and the document amended where necessary and an opportunity to view the revised document has been arranged for Tuesday 15th November at Wellington Hill Residents Association from 4.30pm – 6.30pm with a round the table discussion taking place at 5.30.

We look forward to seeing you there.


Sue Ryder
Asset Management
City Development
Thoresby House, 2 Rossington Street, Leeds LS2 8HD

In Memory of Acer, 2004-2015

Acer 2004-2015 by AceGarp


We received this from Gary and Elaine Marlow, daily users of the fields.

[It] would be great if you could include the attached photo of Acer on the Save Red Hall Playing fields website. Unfortunately we had to have him put to sleep in October this year due to illness. He spent many happy hours on the field with myself and or my wife Elaine and as a result of those frequent visits we all made a number of new friends, and even if we didn’t know all their names we knew the names of their dogs ! Acer was a special dog and he has left a massive hole in our lives so to ease the pain of losing him we now have a 3 month old cross breed puppy called Carly which we got from the Dogs Trust and whilst she could never replace Acer she is certainly keeping us busy!

I have personally been using the field for 50 years for recreation and losing it would be a massive blow to the available recreational community open space. We hope that the campaign to save the fields from development is successful so we can look forward to many more years of dog walking on the field together with the other many dog walkers that use the land alongside the many other visitors.

An East Leeds Consultation You’ll Understand

You might reasonably have consultation fatigue, given that the Site Allocations Consultation just closed. You might have thought that consultation little more than technical gobbledegook. But you ploughed through anyway, even though it was large and covered all of Leeds, not just the fields. Thanks!

Now, though, Leeds City Council has opened a consultation we can all understand. This is the East Leeds Extension consultation and it’s the one where you can phrase your concerns in plain English about the lack of green space in the area, traffic, noise, pollution and infrastructure issues.

It runs from today, November 20th 2015, to January 29th 2016, and there will be events to support it, two of which are local to the fields. Those are:

  1. Mon 30 Nov, 3pm to 8pm Fieldhead Carr Community Centre
  2. Thur 3 Dec, 2.30pm to 6.45pm Wellington Hill Residents Association

While it remains our position that the fields should not be allocated for housing at all when so much housing is being built around them, this consultation will let you express your thoughts about Red Hall in plain English.

The online form for this is significantly easier to understand than the last consultation.

About time!

Time Is Running Out - We’ll Help You Write (Again!)

Leeds City Council is still consulting on the Site Allocations Plan for the city, including allocation of the fields for housing.

… but there’s not long left!

You now have less than two weeks to respond.

Comments will only be accepted until 5pm on Monday November 16th.

The Council has focussed the subject of consultation on whether the plans are sound according to the four tests of soundness. So while you might want to (and should!) make general comments, the council wants you to focus on arguments that will carry weight in front of an inspector. The arguments can be technical.

Help is at hand, though. If you join us at Wellington Hill Residents’ Association on 10th November between 17:30 and 21:00 we’ll clue you in on how to object and help you write your response.

Thanks to the Bulb Planters!

Braving what was threatening to look like some nasty weather, a steady stream of hardy planters assembled on the fields to plant daffodil bulbs for next spring. While the grass around the now somewhat ornamental dead trees was initially tough to get through, everyone developed their own technique, and planting in this area makes it easier for for the regular mowing to avoid the planting areas.

Job done; tea and cake by AceGarp

The sun managed to come out by the time we were finishing, just in time for some well-earned tea and excellent buns (thanks Georgia!), and the knowledge that next spring we’ll see a big splash of colour right in the central area of the fields.

Many thanks to those who stiffened their upper lip and joined us, and many thanks to Groundwork and their bulb bonanza Leeds programme. We’ve got something special to look forward to in spring!

You can see the pictures from the day here.