Further to discussions held at the Development Plan Panel meeting on 16th June 2015, regarding the Site Allocation Plan proposals for employment, retails and greenspace, to consider a report of the Chief Planning Officer providing additional information relating to of the employment land proposals at Leeds Bradford International Airport
Further to minute 4 of the Development Plan Panel meeting held 16th June 2015, the Panel accepted the report of the Chief Planning Officer on Leeds Bradford International Airport (LBIA) employment proposals as a late item of business.
The report provided the requested further explanation and background information on the proposals to remove land from the Green Belt and allocate it for General Employment Use at LBIA. The matter required consideration at this meeting, as deferring it to the next scheduled meeting in July would be too late for the proposals to be included within the SAP report to be presented to Executive Board on 15th July 2015.
The following documents were included within the report for consideration:
· Report of DTZ study in relation to potential benefits of providing a commercial hub at LBIA (commissioned by LBIA)
· Emerging Airport Access Masterplan (for LBIA)
· A Surface Access Strategy prepared by Fore Consulting Ltd (for LBIA)
· Assessment of Employment Needs for North West Leeds from BE Group (from Leeds City Council)
· Route to 2030 A Strategic Development Plan (from LBIA)
The final two documents being despatched as supplementary documents in support of the late item.
The Chief Planning Officer highlighted the key points for consideration in support of the proposal to allocate land out of the Green Belt for employment uses and the request to support development of a Supplementary Planning Document as a basis to provide a detailed planning framework to help progress the airport master plan; in reflecting:
- The contents of the DTZ report, particularly the projected increase in passengers from 3.3m to 7.1m by 2030, the demands on the airport in terms of core operations, non-operational and supply chain; and the need for a commercial hub
- The requirements for local growth identified in the BE report
- The contents of the surface access strategy showing the short term expansion plans and the long term plans for a new road link to Gateway 1
- The LBIA Masterplan document showing operational requirements and proposed air innovation park
The Director of City Development and the Chief Economic Development Officer presented information setting the growth of LBIA in the context of the wider Leeds City Region and providing comparable information with other city airports.
Emphasis was given to the 2013 DfT study which identified the potential growth of LBIA to 9.2m passengers and the need to support and facilitate growth through coherent planning, transport and economic policies. Members were directed to the March 2014 Council White Paper which recognised the wide reaching benefits of LBIA and supported Leeds City Region infrastructure improvements. That approach was subsequently approved by Executive Board in October 2014.
Details were provided on the authority’s consideration undertaken in respect of the economic case for the allocation of employment land, including:
· Evidence gathered from business and data that shows a strong demand for modern manufacturing space in north west Leeds
· The lack of options in terms of large sites for development in north west Leeds
· The opportunity for the right quality of site in the right location to attract inward investment form outside the local area
· Review of the competition – noting that other cities recognised the value of bringing forward employment land near to their airports
Members discussed the report, the supporting documents and the presentation, with the main issues being raised relating to:
- The strength of the case for the allocation, bearing in mind recent planning approvals in the north west of Leeds for housing on land currently designated for employment
- Whether there was sufficient land for development without this allocation being made
(Councillor Walshaw withdrew from the meeting at this point)
- Ownership of the land identified for release (site EG1). The Panel was informed that this land was owned by the five West Yorkshire Authorities. A concern was expressed over the possible perception of the role of officers presenting the report as land owner/developer/future applicant.
- Comments in respect of previous development proposals at LBIA – in respect of projected growth of passenger numbers, development of the passenger terminal and car park use of land previously earmarked for employment use
- The assumption of office space use in the DTZ report, noting that national planning policy advised against ‘out of town’ office parks
- The need for assurance that the LBIA development plans synchronise with those of the City and the wider Leeds City Region,
- Recognition that employment and industrial uses have been redeveloped for residential use in the north west and west areas of Leeds and that the traditional industrial buildings were now unsuitable for modern industry/manufacturing needs
Additionally, several comments made in relation to the late submission of this report and supporting documents were noted.
Members received legal advice in respect of comments made about the role of officers presenting the report to Development Plans Panel. It was noted that, in the case where the Panel is responding to a statutory requirement to draw up the Site Allocations Plan, it was appropriate to receive information from planning officers and to also take advice from other officers of the Council – in this case, information setting the proposal in the wider context of the Leeds City Region and economic development
The Chair noted that some opposition Members had chosen to reserve their position in respect of the matters under consideration
RESOLVED – That Development Plan Panel advise Executive Board that proposed Policy EG3 and allocation of 36.23ha of land as an employment hub as shown on the attached map should be supported for inclusion in the Site Allocations Plan Publication Draft.