Kirkstall Neighbourhood Forum

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Kirkstall Neighbourhood Forum is preparing a Kirkstall Neighbourhood Plan. This gives residents better control over development, and more influence over Council spending. The Forum meets in public at least four times per year. Everybody who lives or works in Kirkstall ward is welcome to take part. How to join

Next Public Meeting

The next meeting of Kirkstall Neighbourhood Forum is being arranged for April 2017 in the Hawksworth Wood, Abbeydales and Vespers Area (HAVA). New and existing members are welcome at this meeting, and anybody who lives, works or does business in Kirkstall can join. If you are new to Neighbourhood Planning, please sign up in advance via this website. Our members get written notice of future meetings and papers are circulated in advance. This is much less hassle than joining at the last minute on the night.

Public meeting on 7 February 2017

The most recent meeting of Kirkstall Neighbourhood Forum took place on Tuesday 7 February in the New Burley Club, Burley Hill Drive, LS4 2SZ. Members heard presentations on the Leeds Flood Relief Scheme and the Kirkstall Valley Development Trust, and discussed the footpath network and railway policies. Download the Minutes and the Agenda and Reports.

Download the January Newsletter and our Current Intentions Document.

Heat pumps

The Forum is evaluating heat pump technology as a possible way to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, combat fuel poverty and generate an income for local projects. Click here for detailed information about this topic.

Annual Meeting on Tuesday 6 December 2016

The Annual Meeting of Kirkstall Neighbourhood Forum took place at 7:30pm on Tuesday 6 December in Paxton Hall, 186 Kirkstall Lane, LS5 2AB. The meeting started with informal poster displays about our work so far, so that small groups could focus on popular issues.

Later in the evening we elected a new Neighbourhood Board to manage our affairs for the next twelve months. The Board doesn't decide our policy, but arranges a series of public meetings where all major decisions are taken in an open democratic manner.

Agendas, Reports and Minutes for all meetings are published on the downloads section below.

Public Meeting on 27 September 2016

Kirkstall Neighbourhood Forum met for the fourth time at 7:30pm on Tuesday 27 September in Paxton Hall. This meeting started with an informal workshop so we could discuss issues in smaller groups. Topics considered included footpaths, Kirkstall riverside, parking, poverty and traffic problems. Later the meeting received the Secretary's report from the Board, agreed a timetable for producing a plan, and decided the overall direction of Forum policy in future months.


  1. immediate engagement with residents throughout the plan area, often working in small groups and including a skills audit that maximises local input,

  2. production of a multi-topic intentions document in January 2017 with optional priority projects,

  3. production of a draft plan in spring 2017 with consultation over the summer

  4. publication of a pre-submission neighbourhood plan in January 2018

  5. postal ballot for a referendum in Spring 2018.

Third Public Meeting on 8 June 2016

Much of the evening was spent discussing five big policy issues that were open for debate.

  1. Affordable housing: At least 100 units of affordable housing are required on the failed Tesco supermarket site within the Kirkstall District Centre, in addition to any retail or commercial development which might or might not be agreed.

  2. Design Quality: Planning applications in Kirkstall will be judged by the same standards that apply in the most privileged areas of Leeds.

  3. Flood Relief Scheme: This Forum will engage fully with the emerging flood relief scheme and focus on residentsí well-being and quality of life. Every opportunity will be taken to improve youth and sports provision, and public access to recreational land.

  4. Sustainable Development: Major planning applications must achieve zero carbon dioxide emissions, with less stringent requirements for householder applications.

  5. Traffic and Congestion: A detailed professional study of traffic congestion is urgently required on both sides of the valley for the area within 1km of Bridge Road.

The meeting accepted these over-arching policies without significant dissent, but their detailed implementation will be decided over the next few months.

Second Public Meeting on 5 April 2016

This meeting received a report from the Board, and elected additional board members. It also received a Survey Form about members preferences and a discussion paper on future policies.

The Survey Form is being used to group members into working parties who share similar interests, so that people can make a start on their favourite topics. It is not necessary to fill-in every line, only the ones that appeal to you. Participation is entirely voluntary and there is no need to take part if you donít want to.

As explained below for the membership form, some browsers allow you to immediately complete PDF forms on screen, but others expect you to save the file to disk and send them later using Acrobat reader. Mobile devices often cause problems and we are working on this. In case of difficulty, an ordinary old-fshioned email message to will always do the trick.

If you use Internet Explorer 11, Opera or Firefox/Mozilla then you can complete the form immediately on screen, or save it for later if you prefer. If you use Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge you should first save the file and open it with Acrobat Reader. Either way, click the "Submit" button to send us your views.

Alternatively, save the completed the form and attach it to an email message to in the usual way.

You donít have to agree with our discussion paper. In fact we would welcome some healthy disagreement. Our objective is to push the boat out a little and stimulate debate.

Inaugural Public Meeting on 5 January 2016

The new Forum met for the first time in Paxton Hall. This meeting approved 113 initial members and elected a Board of 14 to manage day-to-day business between Public Meetings. This Board subsequently elected its own officers and now meets regularly on the 4th Wednesday each month. The Chair is John Liversedge, Vice Chair Daniel Lipzith, Secretary John Illingworth and Treasurer James Corah. At least 4 Public Meetings of the full Forum must be held each year. These Public Meetings are open to all members and will determine Forum policy.

The Inaugural Meeting received two documents that will assist future decisions: (1) The Vision for Kirkstall was prepared by local residents in 2010, and many of its policies are still relevant today. The Vision doesn't bind the Forum, which could decide quite differently, but it is a useful checklist of things that need to be done. (2) The Site Allocations Map is a Leeds City Council document which shows the Council's own plan making for the Kirkstall area. This document does bind the Forum, but it is a work in progress, where the Forum can suggest changes that the Council may accept. Both documents are available from the downloads section below.

How to join Kirkstall Forum

New members are always welcome and people can register any time. Our Constitution says that new members are formally accepted by the full Forum at the start of each public meeting, but to save time and avoid confusion, please download our Application Form and sign up in advance. Users with Internet Explorer 11, Firefox and Opera browsers can immediately fill-in their contact details on screen. If you use Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge browsers, please save the PDF file to disk and open it with Acrobat reader. In either case, click the "Submit" button to send the completed form to us. Alternatively, just send an ordinary email message to which includes your name, street address and (optional) preferred phone number, so that we can start sending you details of future events. This may be the best option when using mobile devices.


Examples of successful Neighbourhood Plans

Some of these websites show helpful details of the process for making and approving the plan. Sometimes you must scroll down to find the finished product.


The application from the Interim Neighbourhood Forum was to designate an area covering the whole of Kirkstall Ward (the area shaded light green on the detailed map below). This is a large unit, but alternative arrangements are less satisfactory. If the plan boundary falls short of the ward boundary, this leaves "orphan areas" whose interests may be overlooked. Such orphans may also be denied access to significant funds. There is a partial overlap with the previously designated area for the Headingley Neighbourhood Forum around Foxcroft Mount, Queenswood Road, Queenswood Gardens, Queenswood Rise and the southern end of Queenswood Drive. This area is coloured yellow on the map, and the issue is discussed in the LCC Report and Plan prepared on 26 October 2015 (see download list above). The Council decided not to include the disputed area in the Kirkstall Forum for the time being, but urged both Neighbourhood Forums to reach an agreement about future representation. This overlap causes significant problems for Kirkstall residents because the current Headingley boundary splits the operating area for the Queenswood Tenants' and Residents' Association (QTARA) in half. Negotiations are necessary to resolve this issue.

Some Kirkstall issues, such as peak time traffic congestion, affect the entire ward. Kirkstall District Centre and Kirkstall Forge are expected to be the main drivers for local economic development, and both sites affect considerable areas. Other matters have only local relevance, but residents may value support from a wider area.

Full details of the Neighbourhood Planning Process can be found on the Leeds City Council website at Neighbourhood Planning was introduced by the Localism Act 2011. It allows Town and Parish Councils to prepare their own local plans which influence development in their local area. Neighbourhood Forums perform a similar function in non-parished areas such as Kirkstall. Neighbourhood plans cannot propose less development than the local plan (or core strategy), but they can propose more homes or businesses, or alternative sites, or higher design standards.

The Localism Act requires only one Neighbourhood Forum in each area. Leeds City Council must consult with the community before agreeing to its formation and the area boundary. The board or steering group must reflect the local community, including residents and businesses. The forum must have at least 21 members including at least one councillor. Neighbourhood Forums can obtain financial support directly from their local council, and also from the Supporting Communities in Neighbourhood Planning Programme, which is administered by a consortium led by Locality / RTPI Planning Aid on behalf of Government.

Under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (as amended), the Council has a statutory duty to assist communities in the preparation of neighbourhood development orders and to take orders through a process of examination and referendum. The Localism Act 2011 (Part 6 chapter 3) sets out the LPA responsibilities as:

In addition, legislation sets out who the relevant councils are with responsibility for arranging the referendum/s. The overall process can be summarised in the following diagram:

It is importand that the entire process is conducted transparently, and that all local interest groups are able to take part. The Leeds City Council website has an extensive section devoted to Neighbourhood Plans. The process starts informally, but becomes more disciplined and professional as the key issues are identified. The work of the Neighbourhood Forum culminates in a six-week period of Statutory Consultation on the proposed Neighbourhood Plan, which is then submitted to Leeds City Council for further processing.

The Council subjects the draft plan to Independent Examination to ensure tha the plan:

  1. has regard to national policies and advice contained in guidance
  2. has special regard to the desirability of preserving any heritage assets
  3. has special regard to the desirability of preserving or enhancing the character or appearance of any conservation area
  4. contributes to the achievement of sustainable development
  5. general conformity with the strategic policies contained in the development plan
  6. does not breach, and is otherwise compatible with, EU obligations (e.g. Strategic Environmental Assessment5)
  7. prescribed conditions are met and prescribed matters have been complied (legal and regulatory).

It is likely that this process will identify some conflicts and that the draft plan will require some modifications. The final version is subject to a minimum of 28 days publicity, culminating in a "yes | no" referendum, that may convenienlty be timed to coincide with local elections.

If the electors agree to the plan, then it has the full force of other planning documents in controlling local development.

Last updated 10 April 2017 at 10:47 Back to the top

Promoted by Cllr John Illingworth, 37 Kirkwood Way, Leeds LS16 7EU on behalf of the Kirkstall Neighbourhood Forum