In late November, residents of Wordsworth Drive and Sugar Hill Close had another fantastic opportunity to speak out about our fight. This time we met members of the Leeds Outer South Community Committee and put forward our concerns about Pemberstone’s proposed development.
The meeting was chaired by Cllr Karen Bruce and attended by senior planning and housing officers, including Victoria Hinchliffe Walker and Gerard Tinsdale, as well as other local councillors, including Judith Elliot, Stewart Golton and Neil Dawson. See the full list of Councillor attendees here.
From the residents, the meeting was attended by Cindy Readman, Hazell Field, and Susan Gould. Pemberstone was invited but, unfortunately (and unsurprisingly), declined the invitation.
Cindy gave a powerful speech explaining the sense of community in our two streets and how, more than 12 months since the planning application was submitted, the anxiety is really taking its toll on residents’ physical and mental health. She shared stories of the impact of sleep deprivation as a result of the constant worry, and the physical and financial impact that campaigning to save our homes is having on so many members of this low income community. In response, the Committee showed overwhelming support.
Stewart Golton and Carmel Harrison of the Lib Dems put forward a recommendation that Leeds City Council look into buying the estate, seconded by Judith Elliot (Morley Borough Independents) and amended by Neil Dawson (Labour) to make it even stronger. We feel so heartened to have support from all the parties represented in the wider area. Karen Bruce (Labour) also recommended that the Committee put in an objection to the application, which adds vital ammunition to our fight.
It wasn’t all good news, though. A representative from the council confirmed that there is currently a 3 year (!) wait for a 3-bedroom council house in our area if the demolition goes ahead. But our hope and our fight is that this never has to become a reality, as temporary accommodation across the country is notoriously unsafe with health and security risks.
When Cindy asked about whether the council was taking into account equality, diversity and special needs within the community, they confirmed that a form would soon be coming round to collect that data. While we would also love Pemberstone and the Council’s whole Planning Committee to actually come over and meet us all over a cup of tea to find out in person about out lives, an official form documenting this is certainly a good start. We shall keep you updated as to what comes out of this meeting, and everything else.
As ever, the fight continues.
And with the Planning Committee meeting that decides our fate postponed again, we at least hope to enjoy one more Christmas in our homes.