The key to success in Neighbourhood Planning is not to blindly oppose all new development, but to demonstrate that intelligent design enables more to be achieved with less resources. Developers are already talking to the Council about the future of the Tesco site, and proposing the same inefficient, land-hungry designs that we can see all over Leeds. They haven’t yet thought about the traffic problems.

The former Tesco site in the Kirkstall District Centre

The resolution calls for affordable housing in addition to any retail development. Houses could be on the surface with street-level step-free access, while car-parking and retail are buried in the hillside, fully exploiting the opportunities of a sloping site. At present, our preferred housing model is the Lilac co-op on Victoria Park Avenue in Armley, but this isn’t the only possibility and we need to move with the times. This could be a zero-carbon development if that policy is agreed.

The Kirkstall District Centre is a massive job, where we may wish to employ specialist consultants. It includes highway engineering, structural design, development economics and aesthetic style. Our biggest problem may be convincing Tesco that their land is worth less than they hoped. There seems to be public support for a design competition, but this must be properly managed and evaluated.